The Victorian Lifestyle and Neighbourhood Environment Study (VicLANES) is internationally significant research involving 4,913 participants in 50 small areas in Melbourne. VicLANES examines the importance of area socio-economic status (SES), neighbourhood environments, individual perceptions, attitudes and knowledge in relation to three important health behaviours: • food purchasing for household consumption • physical activity • alcohol consumption.
Residents living in more disadvantaged areas have poorer health and are less likely to participate in physical activity and healthy eating.
In an effort to reduce the health inequalities associated with a lack of exercise and having poor diet, researchers, practitioners and policy makers in public health and in other disciplines such as planning, health promotion and geography are trying to explore the complex reasons for these differences. Contrasting health behaviours found between areas may be due to characteristics of the area where people live (contextual effects), the individuals who live within the area (compositional effects), or a combination of both.
VicLANES was set up to assess the importance of individual and area-level characteristics in shaping three important health behaviours: household food-purchasing, physical activity and alcohol consumption.