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Discrete dynamics of contagious social diseases: Example of obesity
Modeling contagious diseases needs to incorporate information about social networks through which the disease spreads as well as data about demographic and genetic changes in the susceptible population. In this paper, we propose a theoretical framework (conceptualization and formalization) which seeks to model obesity as a process of transformation of one's own body determined by individual (physical and psychological), inter-individual (relational, i.e., relative to the relationship between the individual and others) and socio-cultural (environmental, i.e., relative to the relationship between the individual and his milieu) factors. Individual and inter-individual factors are tied to each other in a socio-cultural context whose impact is notably related to the visibility of anybody being exposed on the public stage in a non-contingent way. The question we are dealing with in this article is whether such kind of social diseases, i.e., depending upon socio-environmental exposure, can be considered as "contagious". In other words, can obesity be propagated from individual to individual or from environmental sources throughout an entire population?