This paper builds on a growing body of literature on the promise of practice theory in understanding and promoting behavior change in society and develops upon Blue (2017) and Spotswood et al.’s (2019) rationale for evolving theories of practice into the domain of contemporary physical activity research. We begin by considering the intersectional nature of the problem. Statistics reveal that physical activity gradients exist based on gender, as well as socio-economic position. Women, girls, and disadvantaged populations report lower levels of activity than more affluent males and females. More problematic still is what StreetGames (2017) call the “double jeopardy”, where these characteristics intersect, intensifying the negative gradient. Our argument then comprises three parts. First, we provide a critical discussion of intervention studies seeking to transform exercise behavior amongst these populations. The issue we identify is that studies typically rely on behavior change models, such as the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) and the ABC framework. However, these models tend to take insufficient account of the practical and social aspects of behavior change in physical activity, and thus their subjects often succumb to value-action gaps (Shove, 2010). Second, in contrast, we propose that practice theory provides a promising alternative theoretical lens for promoting behavior change in disadvantaged and often resistant populations. Third, the paper highlights a range of conceptual considerations for exploring the relationship between young, disadvantaged women and physical activity, as well as the development of tangible solutions to improve participation.
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