Using simulations for exploring interventions in social networks modeling physical activity behaviour in Dutch school classes

Eric Fernandes De Mello Araújo, Bojan Simoski, Thabo Van Woudenberg, Kirsten Bevelander, Crystal Smit, Laura Buijs, Michel Klein, Moniek Buijzen

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingConference proceedingAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The reduction of childhood obesity through the promotion of a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important public health challenges at the moment. It is known that the unhealthy habits of children can cause unavoidable side effects in their early stage of life, including both physical and mental consequences. This work considers that the physical activity level of children is a behaviour that can be spread throughout the social relations of children in their daily life at school. Therefore, the aim of this work is to define what the best strategy is to find 'targets' (i.e., influential children that can initiate behavioural change) for physical activity (PA) interventions that would affect the average PA of a population of Dutch school classes. We tuned a model based on the influence of the children's peers in their social network, based on the data set from the MyMovez project-Phase I. Five intervention strategies were implemented, and their efficacy was compared. Once the targets were chosen, an increase of 17% was applied to their initial PA. Then, the diffusion model was run to verify the improvement on the PA of the whole network after one year. We discuss implications of the simulation results on which strategies may be used to make informed choices about the setup of social network interventions and future model improvements. Our results show that targeting more vulnerable children (i.e. in a worse environment) and applying a network optimization algorithm are the best solutions for this data set indicating that future interventions should aim for these two strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIMULTECH 2018 - Proceedings of 8th International Conference on Simulation and Modeling Methodologies, Technologies and Applications
EditorsFloriano De Rango, Tuncer Oren, Mohammad S. Obaidat, Mohammad S. Obaidat
Pages414-425
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789897583230
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event8th International Conference on Simulation and Modeling Methodologies, Technologies and Applications, SIMULTECH 2018 - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 29 Jul 201831 Jul 2018

Publication series

SeriesSIMULTECH 2018 - Proceedings of 8th International Conference on Simulation and Modeling Methodologies, Technologies and Applications

Conference

Conference8th International Conference on Simulation and Modeling Methodologies, Technologies and Applications, SIMULTECH 2018
Country/TerritoryPortugal
CityPorto
Period29/07/1831/07/18

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 by SCITEPRESS-Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved.

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