SbS@UvA: Systems thinking and body weight perception: Modelling interactions between the individual and the collective
Oude Turfmarkt 147
This Friday Loes Crielaard will present on “Systems thinking and body weight perception: Modelling interactions between the individual and the collective“. We will combine lunch and lecture together, so if you are coming please register using doodle before Thursday (March 14) so we have lunch for you too.
When: March 15, 2019 | 12:30-18:00.
Where: 2nd and 3rd floor of the UvA Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Oude Turfmarkt 147, Amsterdam.
Abstract: Shifts in obesity prevalence cause individuals to re-evaluate their weight with reference to the average weight in their socio-cultural group as opposed to a fixed standard. We, therefore, hypothesise that diversity regarding the social norms of obesity exists among different socio-cultural groups, reflecting their variation in obesity prevalence. This stems from an intricate web of interactions between different elements – individual- and group-level body weight, individual and collective body weight perception, ethnicity and sex –, which can be perceived as a complex system. We analyse this system using system dynamics (SD) modelling in order to identify the relative impact of individual- versus group-level interventions.
Individual and collective ideal body image variables are embedded in a conceptual causal loop diagram (CLD) and subsequently in functioning SD models (SDMs). These SDMs simulate the dynamics of weight for six socio-cultural groups (Dutch, Moroccan and South-Asian Surinamese men and women) in Amsterdam, where we focus on the feedback loops that drive the re-evaluation of individual perceptions regarding body weight based on obesity prevalence.
The SDMs are created using a structured methodology to construct operational SDMs from cross-sectional data, building upon the exploitation of qualitative expert knowledge as outlined in a CLD. Our work, therefore, highlights the value of integrating qualitative knowledge into quantitative SD modelling and clarifies which assumptions are necessary. Developing methodologies like this to generate pseudo time-series data from cross-sectional data – which are often available but fail to provide us with dynamic insights – may also be imperative in fields beyond public health.
SD modelling enables simulation of the system’s behaviour in different scenarios, such as individual- versus group-level interventions, and may clarify why concentrating on the individual often does not achieve its anticipated impact. Hereby, it can support evidence-informed policy making.
13:00-14:00: lecture by Loes Crielaard
14:00-17:00: informal discussions
You can find an agenda for weekly meetings on IAS website.
About the Friday Club
It’s a weekly informal gathering, where you can bring your issues/projects to discuss, help others to find solutions for their projects, exchange ideas and meet new people. There is no agenda other than a plenary session from 12:30-14:00, organised by junior scientists (e.g. lectures, discussions, a journal club).