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Obesity is a public health crisis that contributes to chronic disease prevalence, morbidity, and mortality. Nutrition and physical activity are risk factors for many chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease, the leading causes of death in the United States. Lifestyle management programs to address obesity and potential sequelae such as chronic conditions have shown efficacy, with social support an important factor in interventions. Instruments that assess social support specifically provided by friends are lacking but could be important predictors of program success. The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability and validity of the 10-item Social Support to Eat Better and Move More instrument that was developed and designed to measure support from friends that influence dietary and physical activity behaviors during lifestyle management programs. Data were collected during a cross-sectional study using purposive sampling strategies among adult residents of two southern states. Statistical analysis was conducted to examine latent factors, internal consistency, and convergent and predictive validity. These preliminary results indicated that the Social Support to Eat Better and Move More instrument had excellent internal consistency for the overall measure (α = 0.96) as well as for informational support (α = 0.97), emotional support (α = 0.96), and encouragement (α = 0.97). The tool related well to another general social support measure as well as to diet, physical activity, and health-related variables, and it can be a useful measure in lifestyle management studies.

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