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Promoting leisure-time versus occupational physical activity: socially biased or solutions to closing the socioeconomic gap?
  1. Leandro Garcia,
  2. Sophie Jones,
  3. Ruth Hunter
  1. Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leandro Garcia, Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK; l.garcia{at}

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We read with interest Straker et al’s editorial1 arguing how a focus on leisure-time physical activity is socially biased, and that designing jobs with the right amount and nature of physical activity can correct those biases. We offer here three counterpoints to encourage a wider discussion of this very relevant and important topic.

Our first point is centred on the fact that Straker et al compared two different types of physical activity promotion strategies. They wrote that ‘public health messaging has focused largely on increasing leisure time physical activity’, but suggested changes in how work is designed—largely a structural change—could correct socioeconomic biases. We posit the following: (1) for communication campaigns to be effective, the target audience must have the opportunities and means to act on the information they receive, regardless of being in the leisure or work domain. People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds usually occupy jobs they have …

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  • Contributors LG wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the content of the manuscript and accepted the submitted version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.