University of Oulu

Puhakka, S.; Pyky, R.; Lankila, T.; Kangas, M.; Rusanen, J.; Ikäheimo, T.M.; Koivumaa-Honkanen, H.; Korpelainen, R. Physical Activity, Residential Environment, and Nature Relatedness in Young Men—A Population-Based MOPO Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2322.

Physical activity, residential environment, and nature relatedness in young men : a population-based MOPO study

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Author: Puhakka, Soile1,2,3; Pyky, Riitta1,2,4,5; Lankila, Tiina2,3;
Organizations: 1Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute, P.O. Box 365, 90100 Oulu, Finland
2Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3The Geography Research Unit, Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
5Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics, and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
6Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
7Department of Psychiatry, Kuopio University Hospital (KUH), P.O. BOX 100, 70029 Kuopio, Finland
8Department of Psychiatry, Lapland Hospital District, P.O. BOX 8041, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
9Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. BOX 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-10-23


Background: In general, nature relatedness is positively associated with physical activity, health, and subjective well-being. However, increased residence in urban areas, and the decrease in natural spaces, may affect the younger generation most adversely. The associated environmental changes can increase youths’ risk of spending most of their time indoors, and weaken their nature relatedness, making them less likely to enjoy nature’s health benefits. This is a serious public health issue, since inadequate physical activity, combined with minimum time spent in green space, can affect health across the whole lifespan. Thus, to develop effective interventions for physical activation and promote health and well-being among young men, further knowledge of the determinants of their nature relatedness is necessary.

Aims: To explore factors related to nature relatedness, including physical activity, physical activity with parents, and residential environment.

Methods: The study population consisted of all 914 young men (mean—17.8 years; SD—0.5) who participated in mandatory call-ups for military service and completed the study questionnaire in 2013. The questionnaire inquired about their nature relatedness, demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, physical activity, health, and subjective well-being. A geographic information system (GIS) was used to assess the features of their residential environments. Multivariable linear regression was used to analyze the data.

Results: Physical activity (p = 0.021) and physical activity with parents at primary school age (p = 0.007), and currently (p = 0.001) as well as good self-rated health (p = 0.001), and father’s higher socioeconomic status (p = 0.041), were positively connected to nature relatedness.

Conclusions: Physical activity in general, physical activity with parents, and nature relatedness were positively related. This knowledge can be utilized in promoting physical activity and health among young men.

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Series: International journal of environmental research and public health
ISSN: 1661-7827
ISSN-E: 1660-4601
ISSN-L: 1661-7827
Volume: 15
Issue: 10
Article number: 2322
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15102322
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This study was supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (DNRO 125/627/2009, 98/627/2010, 97/627/2011), Juho Vainio Foundation, Centre for Military Medicine, Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital Disctrict, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (European Regional Development Fund, 70037/2010 and 70035/2011), and Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of North Ostrobothnia (European Social Fund, project number S11580) and Sports Institute Foundation, Finland. The financers had no role in the study design, collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication. The authors acknowledge City of Oulu, Virpiniemi Sport Institute, and the Finnish Defence Forces for their support.
Copyright information: © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (