Physical Activity from a Socio-Cultural Perspective

Within a group or society, inequality refers to disparities in opportunities based on various social positions or statuses. Physical activity, which is a crucial contributor to good physical health, is related to social-cultural roles and factors. Education, occupation, and climate are some of the social factors that influence physical activity. Those who are more advantaged are more likely to be physically active regularly and are less likely to suffer from health problems associated with an inactive lifestyle than those who are less advantaged. As a result, this paper aims to raise awareness of physical activity inequalities by addressing the causes of inequity and how injustice can be addressed using a visual representation.
the human body
The social factors include education, occupation, environment among others such that those who are more advantaged are more likely to be regularly physically active and less likely to experience health issues associated with inactive lifestyle than the less advantaged people. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to raise awareness of physical activity inequalities by tackling causes of inequality as well as how inequity can be resolved basing on a picture.


How the picture symbolizes inequity

In the photo, a person is sitting on a coach with a lot of junk food wearing headphones with a laptop and a phone in the other hand. This picture was taken in local social activities that make up our daily life thus symbolizing inequity in social-cultural perspective on physical activity. First, the individual sitting down eating junk food illustrates the starting point of inequity in social-cultural perspective because it shows the situation into which the person is born. The person in the photo can simply be described as one who is born in a socially disadvantaged family. Eating potato chips and other junk foods illustrate the lack of access to fresh food thus going for junk food, which is cheaper. Besides, the picture shows initial inequalities such as early life issues associated with physical activity. The lack of money and maybe access to education has led the individual not to pay attention to the importance of physical activity. The type of food will lead the person to have health problems such as diabetes or obesity, which are associated with socially disadvantaged people.

Causes of inequity in social-cultural perspective on physical activity

Some indicators of social-cultural perspective have been linked with physical activity. For example, in many cases, the likelihood of meeting recommendations for physical activity has been shown to increase with the sedentary behavior, the level of income, as well as level of education (Butler & Watt, 2007). The group of behaviors is portrayed in the picture where the person is sitting, with a laptop, earphones holding a phone on the other hand and with junk food. Sedentary behavior is associated with the social gradient.

The picture portraying social disparity is through the person eating junk food a phenomenon known as the food desert in which low social status people cannot access healthy food thus leading to poor consumer choices and poor dieting. Besides low-income levels leads many people to go for desert foods, which are significant of health issues such as cardiovascular diseases obesity and diabetes (Jamieson & Smith, 2016). According to research, low social status people are highly linked with increased risk of diabetes due to physically inactive lifestyles.

Evidence from the developed countries has shown that high social-cultural status is highly associated with leisure time as well as finances which allow them to have moderate or vigorous activity. According to research, association with physical activity in children and adolescents are determined by parental education and income. In other studies in the United States, shows that people from low social status and those who families that are experiencing social disadvantages, tend to participate less in sports because of lack of education and income to spend time in games compared with people from high social status (Greig, Lewins & White, 2003).

Pervasive social and cultural norms of a person’s surroundings relate to physical activity behaviors. Every society has expectations of how each person should behave or should not behave. Therefore, in most cases people’s lifestyles are shaped by the environment they are living in. For example, the norms and values in Australia may influence the social position and living condition as well as relation to physical activity because it is identified as a sporting nation.

The inconsistent social gradient in physical activity participation among people is explored in the determinants of social inequity, and as mentioned earlier, those living in low social status have reduced access to physical activity, which is associated with reduced physical activity and increased health issues. This suggests that disparity may contribute to social inequity ethnic and overweight patterns even with the availability of physical activity facilities. However, availability of inequity in social-cultural perspective on physical activity can be resolved through the establishment of a living wage for workers, suppliers, customers as well as others who do business. Enforcement of a livable wage by reducing differences in income tax will enable all human beings to support themselves and their families thus minimizing social disparity (Butler & Watt, 2007).


In conclusion, physical activity is unequally distributed across the population with the low social status people being at high risk of low levels of physical activity. Education, the degree of income as well as environment determinants is unequally distributed across social groups. The effort to reduce inequity need collaboration between the non-government organization, welfare sectors as well as the government itself to be able to promote physical activity with limited resources and reduce social inequities.


Butler, T., & Watt, P. (2007). Understanding social inequality. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications.

Greig, A., Lewins, F. W., & White, K. (2003). Inequality in Australia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Jamieson, K. M., & Smith, M. (2016). Fundamentals of sociology of sport and physical activity.

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