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“I used to be as fit as a linnet” – Beliefs, attitudes, and environmental supportiveness for physical activity in former mining areas in the North-East of England

Author

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  • Rind, Esther
  • Jones, Andy

Abstract

Studies of geographical variations in physical activity behaviours have suggested that activity levels are particularly low in areas that have undergone employment loss associated with the decline of industry. This is of concern given that affected populations are already at risk of poor health. Applying focus group methodology amongst 19 participants in four groups, this study aims to unpack how broader societal and environmental changes associated with industrial decline affect beliefs and attitudes towards physical activity in ex-mining communities in the North-East of England. Identified core themes comprise the direct impact of deindustrialisation on social and physical environments. Based on our findings, we provide evidence for mechanisms that operate via loss of occupational physical activity as well as the progressive development of environments that are not fit to support population activity levels. Particularly important was the loss of recreational facilities, public green spaces and sports facilities that were owned and organised by the miners themselves with support from the mining companies. Attitudes and beliefs directly related to the areas' industrial past were also seen to be key. We suggest that the development of interventions considering the socio-cultural history and socio-economic reality of communities could be a promising route to encourage more active lifestyles in deprived areas with particularly low levels of physical activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Rind, Esther & Jones, Andy, 2015. "“I used to be as fit as a linnet” – Beliefs, attitudes, and environmental supportiveness for physical activity in former mining areas in the North-East of England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 110-118.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:126:y:2015:i:c:p:110-118
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.12.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Legh-Jones, Hannah & Moore, Spencer, 2012. "Network social capital, social participation, and physical inactivity in an urban adult population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(9), pages 1362-1367.
    2. Rind, Esther & Jones, Andy & Southall, Humphrey, 2014. "How is post-industrial decline associated with the geography of physical activity? Evidence from the Health Survey for England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 88-97.
    3. McNeill, Lorna Haughton & Kreuter, Matthew W. & Subramanian, S.V., 2006. "Social Environment and Physical activity: A review of concepts and evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 1011-1022, August.
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