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Into the fields A new study into understanding environmental influences on rural men’s physical activity is seeking participants.

For people living in urban areas, having physical environments that are supportive of physical activity – safe, accessible, walkable and attractive places to be active – is important for physical activity participation.

However, it is not clear whether these same environmental features are important for, or even relevant to, people living in rural areas.  

Researchers at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania , the University of Tasmania Department of Rural Health , and Deakin University have been working with rural Tasmanian women to better understand how features of their built and natural environments influence their physical activity behaviour.

This important research is now being extended to understand the perspectives of rural Tasmanian men.

Rural men tend to have poorer health than men living in cities, but the reasons for this are unknown. It may be related to the physical environments in which they live, work and play, and whether these are supportive of an active, healthy lifestyle.

“Rural areas are typically characterised by large open spaces, low population densities, and limited access to places to be active such as walking and cycling tracks and recreational centres”, Dr Cleland said.

“But very little research has tried to understand how the physical environment might be related to rural men’s participation in physical activity.”

The research team would like to speak with men in the Geeveston, Bothwell/Hamilton/Ouse and Ulverstone/Penguin areas about their ideas for changes that could be made to the environment that might support more physical activity.

The findings may help to inform future programs and policies to promote physical activity, which will in turn mean better health for rural Tasmanian men.

For further information about this research project, please contact Dr Verity Cleland (03) 6226 4603 or

Published on: 09 Sep 2011 11:15am