Social cohesion emerging from a community-based physical activity program: A temporal network analysis

Ana Maria Jaramillo, Felipe Montes, Olga L. Sarmiento, Ana Paola Rios, Lisa G. Rosas, Ruth Hunter, Ana Lucia Rodriquez, Abby C. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


Community-based physical activity programs, such as the Recreovía, are effective in promoting healthy behaviors in Latin America. To understand Recreovías’ challenges and scalability, we characterized its social network longitudinally while studying its participants’ social cohesion and interactions. First, we constructed the Main network of the program’s Facebook profile in 2013 to determine the main stakeholders and communities of participants. Second, we studied the Temporal network growth of the Facebook profiles of three Recreovía locations from 2008 to 2016. We implemented a Time Windows in Networks algorithm to determine observation periods and a scaling model of cities’ growth to measure social cohesion over time. Our results show physical activity instructors as the main stakeholders (20.84% nodes of the network). As emerging cohesion, we found: (1) incremental growth of Facebook users (43–272 nodes), friendships (55–2565 edges), clustering coefficient (0.19–0.21), and density (0.04–0.07); (2) no preferential attachment behavior; and (3) a social cohesion super-linear growth with 1.73 new friendships per joined user. Our results underscore the physical activity instructors’ influence and the emergent cohesion in innovation periods as a co-benefit of the program. This analysis associates the social and healthy behavior dimensions of a program occurring in natural environments under a systemic approach.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalNetwork Science
Early online date06 Aug 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 06 Aug 2020


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