The effect of pedometer feedback on physical activity
Inactivity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The use of pedometers for measuring ambulatory physical activity is becoming increasingly popular. One of the potential benefits of wearing a pedometer is acquiring instant feedback. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether feedback from a pedometer would result in an increase in ambulatory physical activity. Methods: Thirty sedentary adults, six men and twenty-four women, (46 ± 12 years, mean + SD) and BMI, (30.6 + 6.1 kg•m 2, mean + SD) were recruited to wear a New Lifestyles NL-2000 pedometer (capable of storing up to 7 days worth of data) for a total of twelve days. Subjects were divided into two groups. One group received feedback and recorded the number of steps taken four times per day on a log card for the first six days but not the second six days. The other group did not receive feedback the first six days but did the second. The order of whether or not subjects received feedback from the pedometer the first or second six days was randomized.Prior to the study, subjects were not given a recommendation as to how many steps•day' they should accumulate but were given the Surgeon General's recommendation on physical activity. The average number of daily steps for each condition was calculated at the end of each six-day period. Results: No order of effect (whether or not subjects received feedback the first or second week) was evident. Subjects accumulated (mean + SE) 7,409 + 384 steps-day' during the feedback week and 7,041 + 374 steps-day' during the non-feedback week; however, this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.27). When feedback and non-feedback days were combined and averaged, there were no significant correlations between steps-day' and BMI (r = -0.33) or age (r = -0.33). Conclusions: These findings suggest that feedback from a pedometer resulted in a modest, yet insignificant increase in the number of steps•day-' in a sedentary, adult population when no target step accumulation was assigned.