Still striding toward social justice? Redirecting physical activity research in a post-COVID-19 world

Rebecca E. Lee, Rodney P. Joseph, Loneke T. Blackman Carr, Shaila Marie Strayhorn, Jamie M. Faro, Hannah Lane, Courtney Monroe, Dorothy Pekmezi, Jacob Szeszulski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 crisis and parallel Black Lives Matter movement have amplified longstanding systemic injustices among people of color (POC). POC have been differentially affected by COVID-19, reflecting the disproportionate burden of ongoing chronic health challenges associated with socioeconomic inequalities and unhealthy behaviors, including a lack of physical activity. Clear and well-established benefits link daily physical activity to health and well-being - physical, mental, and existential. Despite these benefits, POC face additional barriers to participation. Thus, increasing physical activity among POC requires additional considerations so that POC can receive the same opportunities to safely participate in physical activity as Americans who are White. Framed within the Ecologic Model of Physical Activity, this commentary briefly describes health disparities in COVID-19, physical activity, and chronic disease experienced by POC; outlines underlying putative mechanisms that connect these disparities; and offers potential solutions to reduce these disparities. As behavioral medicine leaders, we advocate that solutions must redirect the focus of behavioral research toward community-informed and systems solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1215
Number of pages11
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • African Americans
  • Ethnic groups
  • Health equity
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Physical exercise
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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