Health is a social phenomenon. The people around us have a significant impact on our health, and we have influence on theirs as well. We all know this from personal experience. Think about it: aren't you more likely to go to the gym when you have an exercise buddy? Don't you feel more inclined to eat healthy when your lunch date orders a salad? On the flip side, isn't it hard to stick to your diet when a co-worker drops off a box of doughnuts in the break room?
A growing body of research is illuminating the ways in which health—and the behaviors that lead to various health outcomes—can spread from person to person. These studies show us while unhealthy behaviors tend to be contagious within social networks, healthy behaviors can also spread if we create the right environment and structure.
At ShapeUp, we believe that understanding the social dynamics of health is critical to successfully promoting wellness. We've learned that the best way to improve the health of individuals and populations is by bringing people together for social support, motivation, and accountability. And we've shown that leveraging the power of peer relationships can produce the best results in wellness programs for employers and health plans. We call our approach Social WellnessTM.
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