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Workplace pedometer interventions for increasing physical activity (review)

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journal contribution
posted on 15.08.2014, 09:13 by Rosanne L.A. Freak-Poli, Miranda Cumpston, Anna Peeters, Stacy Clemes
The World Health Organization recommends that most people should undertake at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days, as it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. However, less than 40% of the world’s population are undertaking adequate amounts of physical activity and rates have been declining. Here we assess whether pedometer workplace interventions increase physical activity and thereby lead to subsequent health benefits. To assess this, we searched for randomised controlled trials of workplace health promotion interventions that involved the use of a pedometer undertaken in employed adults. Between 30th January and 6th February 2012 we searched a range of electronic libraries and references of relevant papers, retrieving 3282 potential papers. We eventually included four studies in the review. One study compared pedometer programmes with an alternative physical activity programme, but there were important baseline differences between the intervention and control groups that made it difficult to distinguish the true effect. The three remaining studies compared pedometer programmes with minimally active control groups. One study observed an improvement in physical activity in the pedometer programme, but two other studies found no significant difference between the pedometer group and the control group. We could not combine these results together, as each study used a different measure for physical activity, so it is not clear what the overall effect is. Single studies found beneficial changes in body mass index, fasting plasma glucose, the mental component of quality of life and worksite injury associated with the pedometer programmes as opposed to the control group. However, none of the studies identified consistent differences between the pedometer programme and the control group for waist circumference, blood pressure and quality of life outcomes. In addition, we judged the majority of included studies to have a high risk of bias, mainly due to participants and staff knowing who was in the intervention and who was in the control group, attrition of participants and not having published a protocol prior to running the study. We conclude that there was insufficient evidence to assess whether workplace pedometer interventions are of benefit. There is a need for further high quality randomised controlled trials to be undertaken with a range of health outcomes and assessment in the long term.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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FREAK-POLI, R.L.A. ... (et al.), 2013. Workplace pedometer interventions for increasing physical activity (review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4, no. CD009209.


John Wiley and Sons (© The Cochrane Collaboration)


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This review is published as a Cochrane Review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 4. Cochrane Reviews are regularly updated as new evidence emerges and in response to comments and criticisms, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews should be consulted for the most recent version of the Review.