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As we learned in the recent election cycle, consumer attitudes and actions are deeply influenced by social media. We rely on our social networks for guidance about purchase decisions, travel plans and, particularly, health and lifestyle choices. This isn’t new.
Before online social networks existed, the Framingham Heart Study found that social ties have a profound impact on individual lifestyle decisions. For example, an individual’s likelihood of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if he or she had a social connection with someone who became obese (all other factors remaining equal).