The Healthier Together Study: Leveraging Primary Care Social Networks to Reduce Inequities in Cancer Risk
Health behaviors shown to spread among family and friends in social networks, such obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and smoking increase cancer risk. Over 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are associated with being overweight or obese and 30% due to tobacco use. The objective of this study is to evaluate how primary care patients are socially connected and whether that relates to their knowledge and adoption of lifestyle behaviors that reduce cancer risk. The study will inform primary care strategies to leverage social networks to improve health behaviors among racial/ethnic minorities. The cancer burden disproportionately affects racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. Evidence suggests that minorities as compared to non-Hispanic whites have denser social networks, with more reliable and frequent engagement of their social connections and thereby may benefit more from cancer prevention interventions that leverage their social networks.