Abstract: Is knowing enough? Increasing physical activity by wearing a pedometer

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WMJ. 2003;102(4):31-6.

Rooney B, Smalley K, Larson J, Havens S.

Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, Wis. 54601, USA. blrooney@gundluth.org

OBJECTIVE: Physical inactivity is a health concern in the United States with nearly 70% of the population getting inadequate amounts of exercise. We set out to determine if wearing a pedometer could significantly increase awareness and amount of physical activity among female employees at a large health care setting.

METHODS: Employees purchased a pedometer, completed a survey, and were encouraged to walk 10,000 steps daily. Eight weeks later, they completed a follow-up survey.

RESULTS: Initially, 510 employees initially participated. Results from 400 women are reported. Setting daily step goals, keeping a log of steps walked, and wearing the pedometer all the time were the indicators most likely to predict significant improvements in level of awareness and amount of physical activity, self-efficacy, and other physical improvements (increased energy, ill less often, and weight loss). A majority (71%) indicated they would continue to wear the pedometer after the study ended.

CONCLUSIONS: Wearing a pedometer is a simple, non-invasive way for women to increase awareness of daily activity and does lead to increased physical activity. Maximum results in improved activity and improvement in health occurred in women who were most compliant with the intervention.

PMID: 12967019 [PubMed – in process]

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