Healthy Eating and Active Living: Rural-Based Working Men’s Perspectives

John L. Oliffe, Joan L. Bottorff, Paul Sharp, Cristina M. Caperchione, Steven T. Johnson, Theresa Healy, Sonia Lamont, Margaret Jones-Bricker, Kerensa Medhurst, Sally Errey

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    There is a pressing need for health promotion programs focused on increasing healthy eating and active living among “unreached” rural-based men. The purpose of the current study was to describe rural-based working men’s views about health to distil acceptable workplace approaches to promoting men’s healthy lifestyles. Two focus group interviews included 21 men who worked and lived in northern British Columbia, Canada. Interviews were approximately 2 hours in duration; data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Themes inductively derived included (a) food as quick filling fuels, (b) work strength and recreational exercise, and (c) (re)working masculine health norms. Participants positioned foods as quick filling fuels both at work and home as reflecting time constraints and the need to bolster energy levels. In the theme work strength and recreational exercise, men highlighted the physical labor demands pointing to the need to be resilient in overcoming the subarctic climate and/or work fatigue in order to fit in exercise. In the context of workplace health promotion programs for men, participants advised how clear messaging and linkages between health and work performance and productivity and cultivating friendly competition among male employees were central to reworking, as well as working, with established masculine health norms. Overall, the study findings indicate that the workplace can be an important means to reaching men in rural communities and promoting healthy eating and active living. That said, the development of workplace programs should be guided by strength-based masculine virtues and values that proactively embrace work and family life.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1664-1672
    Number of pages9
    JournalAmerican Journal of Men's Health
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov. 2017


    • health promotion
    • healthy eating
    • masculinity
    • men’s health
    • physical activity


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