How Friends Influence Your Health

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All of these people extend on the network part, the impacted by everything they do and that's why I think it's important for us to study these outcomes because eventually knowing that I think it will allow us to take great responsibilities for our own outcomes. And so the idea here is that you really have to get your friends and family involved, if you want to make a positive change in your own life then you get to tell your friends and family, the people that we're closest to that you're trying to make this change and you might even try to encourage them to make the change as well because that will be re-enforcing.

[MUSIC] I'm not going to say that networks are the only thing, you definitely have to do other positive things, you have to educate people, you have to make incentives right you have to also try to get people to help each other. I think once we start integrating that information using friends's data make better prediction about who's at risk and also use friends's motivator to try to help people to make these positive changes, then we're really going to see the next revolution and personalized medicine, and these are early days.

I think that these are good first examples but I think it's going to get even better because what we have found in innovation is like a boding city interventions you can get multipliers of four to five to one if you actually do the intervention right because really how much one person's behavior can change and spread and ripple through the network to affect other people.

Clearly the research shows that you shouldn't get rid of unhealthy friends. When your choosing new friends, I think what the research says is that if you choose healthy friends that you're more likely to be healthy yourself. I think you are going to see revolution in this decade in terms of how we use friends.

We're going to be using friends data to do risk prediction we're going to do a much better job who's at risk, and who's not at risk for certain outcomes like weight gain or heart attack, diabetes by looking at the outcome of a persons friends. And so I do think there's going be this role for specialty social networks online to supplement the general kind of health communication that goes about on Facebook and maybe what ends up happening as if some communication between those networks, and that we take advantage of in order to bring that information into the healthcare system in order to be able to use it to make everybody healthy.

Even though I might only have a small effect on you as my friend, that you're connected to five, ten other people, and they're connected to five, ten other people, there's this exponential power where these small changes can become quite large, if only you have the courage to do it.