Industrial restructuring and physical activity in England

Rind, Esther (2012) Industrial restructuring and physical activity in England. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In recent decades, the prevalence of physical activity has declined considerably in many
high-income countries, and this has been linked to rising levels of obesity and several
weight-related medical conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
There is some evidence that areas experiencing the lowest levels of physical activity tend
to be those which have undergone a particularly strong transition away from
employment in physically demanding occupations. It is proposed that such processes of
industrial restructuring may be causally linked to unexplained geographical variations in
activity patterns. Although the socio-cultural correlates of activity behaviours have been
well studied, none have explicitly attempted to identify components of industrial change
that may impact physical activity.
This thesis addresses the gap in knowledge surrounding the socio-cultural context of
industrial restructuring by investigating where, how and why dimensions of industrial
change may impact current levels of physical activity in England. The research applies a
mixed methods approach using GIS techniques, multilevel modelling and qualitative
research interviewing. Firstly, the current literature on socio-cultural correlates of health
behaviours is reviewed to present a novel conceptual framework that hypothesises how
processes between physical activity and industrial restructuring may be linked in context.
Subsequently, measures of industrial restructuring as well as physical activity are
developed to analyse spatial variations in activity patterns across England. The analyses
focus on how employment decline in physically demanding occupations may affect
current levels of physical activity across different activity domains and relevant macroeconomic
time periods. Finally, this research aims to get an insight in the mechanisms
underlying the relationship between physical activity and industrial restructuring.
Results from this research showed geographical variations with distinctive urban-rural
disparities in levels of predominantly recreational physical activity across England.
Processes of industrial restructuring appeared to be associated with patterns of physical
activity, although the nature of the association differed across areas, time periods and
employment types. The results also highlighted the plausible impact of inherited cultures
and regional identities on health-related behaviours. Socio-cultural factors relevant in the
context of industrial restructuring are likely to provide valuable context in activityrelated

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 08 May 2013 11:50
Last Modified: 08 May 2013 11:50


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