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Understanding shedders: Which socio-demographic, health and wellbeing characteristics best inform appropriate health promotion action in men’s sheds and a ‘Shed for Life’?

Health Promot J Austr. 2023 Feb;34(1):156-168. doi: 10.1002/hpja.649. Epub 2022 Aug 16.


ISSUE ADDRESSED: Men’s sheds (‘Sheds’) have been identified as inherently health promoting and as potential settings to engage ‘hard-to-reach’ men in more structured health promotion initiatives. However, little is known about the socio-demographic or health and wellbeing characteristics of Shed members (‘Shedders’) on which such initiatives might be based. This study captures a baseline cross-sectional analysis of Shedders (n = 384) who participated in ‘Sheds for Life’, a health promotion initiative tailored to Sheds.

METHODS: Objective health measures (body composition, blood pressure, blood lipids) captured via health screening as well as socio-demographic and health and wellbeing measures (physical activity, subjective wellbeing, mental health, social capital, cooking and diet) via questionnaires were assessed. Descriptive statistics were generated and differences between groups were determined via parametric and non-parametric testing. Bivariate analysis was used to determine associations and regression analysis then estimated various predictors on mental wellbeing, life satisfaction and loneliness.

RESULTS: Participants were mostly over 65 years (77.3%), retired (88.6%) with limited educational attainment (77%). The majority were in the ‘at-risk’ categories for objective health measures, with most being referred to their GP following health screening (79.6%). Older Shedders were also more likely to meet physical activity guidelines. Mental wellbeing was positively correlated with life satisfaction and increased social capital and these were also positively correlated with physical activity (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight the potential of Sheds in reaching a ‘hard-to-reach’ and ‘at-risk’ cohort of men. Despite a high prevalence of ‘at-risk’ objective health measures, participants report their health in positive terms. Future health promotion initiatives should capitalise on the inherent health-promoting properties of Sheds. SO WHAT?: Findings raise important implications for prioritising and designing health promotion initiatives in Shed settings.

PMID:36692862 | DOI:10.1002/hpja.649

By Nevin Manimala

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