NYU ITP Bodies and Buildings Class 2


Written by:

Systems Thinking and The Obesity Epidemic


Class assignment for 2/11/2013
Read: Networked Medicine: From Obesity to the “Diseasome”. Editorial by Albert-László Barabási, Ph.D. NEJM. July 26,2007.


Deeper Reading:

Original Study by Christakis and Fowler: The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years. NEJM. July 26, 2007.

Critique of this study: Lyons.

The Spread of Evidence-Poor Medicine via Flawed Social-Network Analysis. Statistics, Politics, and Policy: (2011) Vol. 2 : Iss. 1, Article 2. Last revised 5 May 2011

Watch: Catherine Kerr on Cortical Measures in Mindfulness Meditation at Quantified Self.

Personal account of Weight Watchers by Laura Beck at Jezebel.


When developing ideas and concepts for our student projects, and future projects, business ideas, and save-the-world ideas, we often start by designing for ourselves.

For this assignment, research a part of the world at a local level (city, state, province, county) that has a problem with obesity. The only requirement: pick somewhere that you have never been.

In a one page essay, describe the social, cultural, technological, economic, and other conditions of this region that may be contributing to a growth in the prevalence of obesity.  You may choose to write a non-fiction account or take this as a creative writing assignment – imagining a first person day-in-the-life account of what it feels like to live here.


You will be asked to present your work, so practice rehearsing your in class presentation at least two times.