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Accumulation of lifestyle physical activity is a current aim of health promotion, with increased stair climbing one public health target. While the workplace provides an opportunity for regular stair climbing, evidence for effectiveness of point-of-choice interventions is equivocal. This paper reports a new approach to worksite interventions, aimed at changing attitudes and, hence, behaviour.
Pre-testing of calorific expenditure messages used structured interviews with members of the public (n=300). Effects of multi-component campaigns on stair climbing were tested with quasi-experimental, interrupted time-series designs. In one worksite, a main campaign poster outlining the amount of calorific expenditure obtainable from stair climbing and a conventional point-of-choice prompt were used (Poster alone site). In a second worksite, additional messages in the stairwell about calorific expenditure reinforced the main campaign (Poster+Stairwell messages site). The outcome variables were automated observations of stair and lift ascent (28,854) and descent (29,352) at baseline and for three weeks after the intervention was installed. Post-intervention questionnaires for employees at the worksites assessed responses to the campaign (n=253). Analyses employed Analysis of Variance with follow-up Bonferroni t-tests (message pre-testing), logistic regression of stair ascent and descent (campaign testing), and Bonferroni t-tests and multiple regression (follow-up questionnaire).
Pre-testing of messages based on calorific expenditure suggested they could motivate stair climbing if believed. The new campaign increased stair climbing, with greater effects at the Poster+Stairwell messages site (OR=1.52, 95% CI=1.40-1.66) than Posters alone (OR=1.24, 95% CI=1.15-1.34). Follow-up revealed higher agreement with two statements about calorific outcomes of stair climbing in the site where they were installed in the stairwell, suggesting more positive attitudes resulted from the intervention. Future intentions for stair use were predicted by motivation by the campaign and beliefs that stair climbing would help weight control.
Multi-component campaigns that target attitudes and intentions may substantially increase stair climbing at work.