Using Pedometers to Increase Physical Activity and Improve Health: A Systematic Review
Context: Without detailed evidence of their effectiveness, pedometers have recently become popular as a tool for motivating physical activity.
Objective: To evaluate the association of pedometer use with physical activity and health outcomes among outpatient adults.
Data Sources: English-language articles from MEDLINE, EMBASE, Sport Discus, PsychINFO, Cochrane Library, Thompson Scientific (formerly known as Thompson ISI), and ERIC (1966-2007); bibliographies of retrieved articles; and conference proceedings.
Study Selection: Studies were eligible for inclusion if they reported an assessment of pedometer use among adult outpatients, reported a change in steps per day, and included more than 5 participants.
Data Extraction and Data Synthesis: Two investigators independently abstracted data about the intervention; participants; number of steps per day; and presence or absence of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia. Data were pooled using random-effects calculations, and meta-regression was performed.
Results: Our searches identified 2246 citations; 26 studies with a total of 2767 participants met inclusion criteria (8 randomized controlled trials [RCTs] and 18 observational studies). The participants' mean (SD) age was 49 (9) years and 85% were women. The mean intervention duration was 18 weeks. In the RCTs, pedometer users significantly increased their physical activity by 2491 steps per day more than control participants (95% confidence interval [CI], 1098-3885 steps per day, P
Conclusions: The results suggest that the use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and significant decreases in body mass index and blood pressure. Whether these changes are durable over the long term is undetermined.