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1.  Feasibility and acceptability of using pedometers as an intervention tool for Latin 
Due to high rates of inactivity and related chronic illnesses among Latinas,1 the current study examined the feasibility and acceptability of using pedometers as an intervention tool in this underserved population.
Data were taken from a larger randomized, controlled trial2 and focused on the subsample of participants (N=43) who were randomly assigned to receive a physical activity intervention with pedometers and instructions to log pedometer use daily and mail completed logs back to the research center each month for six months.
Retention (90.7% at six months) and adherence to the pedometer protocol (68.89% returned ≥ 5 of the 6 monthly pedometer logs) were high. Overall, participants reported increased physical activity at six months and credited pedometer use for helping them achieve these gains (75.7%). Participants who completed a high proportion (5/6) of pedometer logs reported significantly greater increases in physical activity and related process variables (stages of change, self-efficacy, behavioral processes of change, social support from friends) than those who were less adherent (completed > 5 pedometer logs).
Pedometers constitute a low-cost, useful tool for encouraging self-monitoring of physical activity behavior in this at-risk group.
PMCID: PMC3971921  PMID: 22820735
2.  The effect of a pedometer-based community walking intervention "Walking for Wellbeing in the West" on physical activity levels and health outcomes: a 12-week randomized controlled trial 
Recent systematic reviews have suggested that pedometers may be effective motivational tools to promote walking. However, studies tend to be of a relatively short duration, with small clinical based samples. Further research is required to demonstrate their effectiveness in adequately powered, community based studies.
Using a randomized controlled trial design, this study assessed the impact of a 12-week graduated pedometer-based walking intervention on daily step-counts, self-reported physical activity and health outcomes in a Scottish community sample not meeting current physical activity recommendations.
Sixty-three women and 16 men (49.2 years ± 8.8) were randomly assigned to either an intervention (physical activity consultation and 12-week pedometer-based walking program) or control (no action) group. Measures for step-counts, 7-day physical activity recall, affect, quality of life (n = 79), body mass, BMI, % body fat, waist and hip circumference (n = 76), systolic/diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol (n = 66) were taken at baseline and week 12. Analyses were performed on an intention to treat basis using 2-way mixed factorial analyses of variance for parametric data and Mann Whitney and Wilcoxon tests for non-parametric data.
Significant increases were found in the intervention group for step-counts (p < .001), time spent in leisure walking (p = .02) and positive affect (p = .027). Significant decreases were found in this group for time spent in weekday (p = .003), weekend (p = .001) and total sitting (p = .001) with no corresponding changes in the control group. No significant changes in any other health outcomes were found in either group. In comparison with the control group at week 12, the intervention group reported a significantly greater number of minutes spent in leisure time (p = .008), occupational (p = .045) and total walking (p = .03), and significantly fewer minutes in time spent in weekend (p = .003) and total sitting (p = .022).
A pedometer-based walking program, incorporating a physical activity consultation, is effective in promoting walking and improving positive affect over 12 weeks in community based individuals. The discussion examines possible explanations for the lack of significant changes in health outcomes. Continued follow-up of this study will examine adherence to the intervention and possible resulting effects on health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2546435  PMID: 18775062
3.  Limiting Excess Weight Gain in Healthy Pregnant Women: Importance of Energy Intakes, Physical Activity, and Adherence to Gestational Weight Gain Guidelines 
Journal of Pregnancy  2013;2013:787032.
Few studies have investigated if compliance with energy intakes, physical activity, and weight gain guidelines attenuate postpartum weight retention (PPWR) in mothers attending prenatal classes. We investigated whether (a) daily energy intakes within 300 kcal of estimated energy requirements (EERs), (b) walking more than 5000 steps/day, (c) targeting the recommended weight gain goals for prepregnancy BMI, and/or (d) achieving weekly or total gestational weight gain (GWG) recommendations minimized PPWR in 54 women attending prenatal classes in Montreal/Ottawa, Canada. Participants completed a validated pregnancy physical activity questionnaire (PPAQ), 3 telephone-validated 24-hr dietary recalls, and wore a pedometer for one week. PPWR was measured 6 weeks after delivery. Results showed that 72% had healthy prepregnancy BMIs. However, 52% consumed >300 kcal/day in excess of their EER, 54% exceeded recommended GWG, and more overweight (93%) than normal weight women (38%) cited nonrecommended GWG targets. Following delivery, 33% were classified as overweight, and 17% were obese. Multiple logistic regressions revealed that women targeting “recommended weight gain advice” were 3 times more likely to meet total GWG recommendations (OR: 3.2, P < 0.05); women who complied with weekly GWG goals minimized PPWR (OR: 4.2, P < 0.02). In conclusion, appropriate GWG targets, lower energy intakes, and physical activity should be emphasized in prenatal education programs.
PMCID: PMC3590762  PMID: 23533762
4.  Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors in Postpartum Latinas: Madres para la Salud 
To describe the physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviors of postpartum Latinas who are overweight or obese prior to initiating Madres para la Salud, a social-support mediated walking intervention to promote postpartum weight loss.
139 postpartum (13.6 ± 7.7 weeks since childbirth) women (age = 28.3 ± 5.6 years and BMI = 29.7 ± 3.5 kg.m2), recruited from Phoenix area Latino-serving organizations completed the Stanford Brief Activity Survey (SBAS) and concurrently wore an accelerometer (AG) and a pedometer for 7-days, and kept a PA record (PAR).
Most were classified as inactive and lightly active on the SBAS (51% inactive, 37% light, 11% moderate). Most time was spent in sedentary (512.0 ± 169.9 min.d−1) and light-intensity PA (242.4 ± 51.4 min.d−1) with less time in moderate-intensity lifestyle (78.3 ± 39.9 min.d−1), moderate-intensity walking (16.6 ± 14.4 min.d−1), and vigorous-intensity PA (0.34 ± 1.5 min.d−1). Pedometer steps.d−1 were low (total = 4,973 ± 2,202 steps; aerobic = 412 ± 774 steps) with most participants rated as sedentary (61%) or low-active (28.1%). Consistent with objective PA measures, PARs showed more time spent in light-intensity PAs such as home care, cooking, child- and self care tasks, occupation, religious events, and watching television.
By and large, the postpartum Latinas enrolled spent most of their day in low-intensity activity levels with little time spent in health-enhancing PA levels/behaviors. This demographic should be the focus of PA interventions to increase PA to health enhancing levels.
PMCID: PMC3686889  PMID: 23439416
Exercise; Hispanics; Accelerometer; Physical Activity Record; Self Report Questionnaire; Pedometer
5.  Increasing physical activity in postpartum multiethnic women in Hawaii: results from a pilot study 
BMC Women's Health  2009;9:4.
Mothers of an infant are much less likely to exercise regularly compared to other women. This study tested the efficacy of a brief tailored intervention to increase physical activity (PA) in women 3–12 months after childbirth. The study used a pretest-posttest design. Sedentary women (n = 20) were recruited from a parenting organization. Half the participants were ethnic minorities, mean age was 33 ± 3.8, infants' mean age was 6.9 ± 2.4 months, 50% were primiparas, and mean body mass index was 23.6 ± 4.2.
The two-month intervention included telephone counseling, pedometers, referral to community PA resources, social support, email advice on PA/pedometer goals, and newsletters.
The primary outcome of the study was minutes per week of moderate and vigorous leisure-time physical activity measured by the Godin physical activity instrument.
All women (100%) returned for post-test measures; thus, paired t-tests were used for pre-post increase in minutes of moderate and vigorous leisure-time physical activity and comparisons of moderate and vigorous leisure-time physical activity increases among ethnic groups. At baseline participants' reported a mean of 3 ± 13.4 minutes per week moderate and vigorous leisure-time physical activity. At post-test this significantly increased to 85.5 ± 76.4 minutes per week of moderate and vigorous leisure-time physical activity (p < .001, Cohen's d = 2.2; effect size r = 0.7). There were no differences in pre to post increases in minutes of moderate and vigorous leisure-time physical activity among races.
A telephone/email intervention tailored to meet the needs of postpartum women was effective in increasing physical activity levels. However, randomized trials comparing tailored telephone and email interventions to standard care and including long-term follow-up to determine maintenance of physical activity are warranted.
PMCID: PMC2662815  PMID: 19254387
6.  Feasibility of a controlled trial aiming to prevent excessive pregnancy-related weight gain in primary health care 
Excessive gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention may predispose women to long-term overweight and other health problems. Intervention studies aiming at preventing excessive pregnancy-related weight gain are needed. The feasibility of implementing such a study protocol in primary health care setting was evaluated in this pilot study.
A non-randomized controlled trial was conducted in three intervention and three control maternity and child health clinics in primary health care in Finland. Altogether, 132 pregnant and 92 postpartum women and 23 public health nurses (PHN) participated in the study. The intervention consisted of individual counselling on physical activity and diet at five routine visits to a PHN and of an option for supervised group exercise until 37 weeks' gestation or ten months postpartum. The control clinics continued their usual care. The components of the feasibility evaluation were 1) recruitment and participation, 2) completion of data collection, 3) realization of the intervention and 4) the public health nurses' experiences.
1) The recruitment rate was slower than expected and the recruitment period had to be prolonged from the initially planned three months to six months. The average participation rate of eligible women at study enrolment was 77% and the drop-out rate 15%. 2) In total, 99% of the data on weight, physical activity and diet and 96% of the blood samples were obtained. 3) In the intervention clinics, 98% of the counselling sessions were realized, their contents and average durations were as intended, 87% of participants regularly completed the weekly records for physical activity and diet, and the average participation percentage in the group exercise sessions was 45%. 4) The PHNs regarded the extra training as a major advantage and the high additional workload as a disadvantage of the study.
The study protocol was mostly feasible to implement, which encourages conducting large trials in comparable settings.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN21512277
PMCID: PMC2526978  PMID: 18694479
7.  Increasing older adults’ walking through primary care: results of a pilot randomized controlled trial 
Family Practice  2012;29(6):633-642.
Physical activity can positively influence health for older adults. Primary care is a good setting for physical activity promotion.
To assess the feasibility of a pedometer-based walking programme in combination with physical activity consultations.
Design: Two-arm (intervention/control) 12-week randomized controlled trial with a 12-week follow-up for the intervention group. Setting: One general practice in Glasgow, UK. Participants: Participants were aged ≥65 years. The intervention group received two 30-minute physical activity consultations from a trained practice nurse, a pedometer and a walking programme. The control group continued as normal for 12 weeks and then received the intervention. Both groups were followed up at 12 and 24 weeks. Outcome measures: Step counts were measured by sealed pedometers and an activPALTM monitor. Psychosocial variables were assessed and focus groups conducted.
The response rate was 66% (187/284), and 90% of those randomized (37/41) completed the study. Qualitative data suggested that the pedometer and nurse were helpful to the intervention. Step counts (activPAL) showed a significant increase from baseline to week 12 for the intervention group, while the control group showed no change. Between weeks 12 and 24, step counts were maintained in the intervention group, and increased for the control group after receiving the intervention. The intervention was associated with improved quality of life and reduced sedentary time.
It is feasible to recruit and retain older adults from primary care and help them increase walking. A larger trial is necessary to confirm findings and consider cost-effectiveness.
PMCID: PMC3501246  PMID: 22843637
Ageing, patient education, physical activity, prevention, primary care, quality of life
8.  Anthropometric Changes Using a Walking Intervention in African American Breast Cancer Survivors: A Pilot Study 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2005;2(2):A16.
African American women exhibit a higher mortality rate from breast cancer than do white women. African American women are more likely to gain weight at diagnosis, which may increase their risk of cancer recurrence and comorbidities. Physical activity has been shown to decrease body mass index and improve quality of life in cancer survivors. This study was designed to evaluate the feasibility and impact of a community-based exercise intervention in African American breast cancer survivors.
A theory-based eight-week community intervention using pedometers with scheduling, goal setting, and self-assessment was tested in a convenience sample of African American breast cancer survivors (n = 24). Data were collected at three time points to examine changes in steps walked per day, body mass index, and other anthropometric measures, attitudes, and demographic variables.
Statistically significant increases in steps walked per day and attitude toward exercise as well as significant decreases in body mass index, body weight, percentage of body fat, and waist, hip, and forearm circumferences, as well as blood pressure, were reported from baseline to immediate post-intervention. Positive changes were retained or improved further at three-month follow-up except for attitude toward exercise. Participant retention rate during eight-week intervention was 92%.
Increasing walking for exercise, without making other changes, can improve body mass index, anthropometric measures, and attitudes, which are associated with improved quality of life and reduced risk of cancer recurrence. The high participant retention rate, along with significant study outcomes, demonstrate that among this sample of African American breast cancer survivors, participants were motivated to improve their exercise habits.
PMCID: PMC1327710  PMID: 15888227
9.  Pregnancy: A “teachable moment” for weight control and obesity prevention 
Excessive gestational weight gain has been shown to relate to high postpartum weight retention and the development of overweight and obesity later in life. Since many women are concerned about the health of their baby during pregnancy and are in frequent contact with their health care providers, pregnancy may be an especially powerful “teachable moment” for promoting healthy eating and physical activity behaviors among women. Initial research suggests that helping women gain the recommended amount during pregnancy through healthy eating and physical activity could make a major contribution to preventing postpartum weight retention. However, more randomized controlled trials with larger samples sizes are needed to identify the most effective and disemminable intervention. Providers have the potential to prevent high postpartum weight retention and future obesity by monitoring weight gain during pregnancy and giving appropriate advice about recommended amounts of gestational weight gain.
PMCID: PMC2815033  PMID: 19683692
10.  More Active Mums in Stirling (MAMMiS): a physical activity intervention for postnatal women. Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:112.
Many postnatal women are insufficiently physically active in the year after childbirth and could benefit from interventions to increase activity levels. However, there is limited information about the efficacy, feasibility and acceptability of motivational and behavioral interventions promoting postnatal physical activity in the UK.
The MAMMiS study is a randomized, controlled trial, conducted within a large National Health Service (NHS) region in Scotland. Up to 76 postnatal women will be recruited to test the impact of two physical activity consultations and a 10-week group pram-walking program on physical activity behavior change. The intervention uses evidence-based motivational and behavioral techniques and will be systematically evaluated using objective measures (accelerometers) at three months, with a maintenance measure taken at a six-month follow-up. Secondary health and well-being measures and psychological mediators of physical activity change are included.
The (MAMMiS study will provide a test of a theoretical and evidence-based physical activity behavior change intervention for postnatal women and provide information to inform future intervention development and testing within this population.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN79011784
PMCID: PMC3480874  PMID: 22818406
Physical activity; Postnatal; Health behavior change; Accelerometers; Consultations; Pram-walking; Randomized controlled trial
11.  Protocol for a randomized controlled trial of a specialized health coaching intervention to prevent excessive gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention in women: the HIPP study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:78.
Pregnancy is a time of significant physiological and physical change for women. In particular, it is a time at which many women are at risk of gaining excessive weight. We describe the rationale and methods of the Health in Pregnancy and Post-birth (HIPP) Study, a study which aims primarily to determine the effectiveness of a specialized health coaching (HC) intervention during pregnancy, compared to education alone, in preventing excessive gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention 12 months post birth. A secondary aim of this study is to evaluate the mechanisms by which our HC intervention impacts on weight management both during pregnancy and post birth.
The randomized controlled trial will be conducted with 220 women who have a BMI > 18.5 (American IOM cut-off for normal weight), are 18 years of age or older, English speaking, no history of disordered eating or diabetes and are less than 18 weeks gestation at recruitment. Women will be randomly allocated to either a specialized HC intervention group or an Education Alone group. Our specialized HC intervention has two components: (1) one-on-one sessions with a Health Coach, and (2) two by two hour educational group sessions led by a Health Coach. Women in the Education Alone group will receive two by two hour educational group sessions with no HC components. Body Mass Index, waist circumference, and psychological factors including motivation, readiness to change, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and body dissatisfaction will be assessed at baseline (14-16 weeks gestation), and again at follow-up: 32 weeks gestation, 6 weeks, 6 months and 12 months postpartum.
Our study responds to the urgent need to design effective interventions in pregnancy to prevent excessive gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention. Our pregnancy HC intervention is novel and innovative and has been designed to be easily adopted by health professionals who work with pregnant women, such as obstetricians, midwives, allied health professionals and health psychologists.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12611000331932
PMCID: PMC3295699  PMID: 22272935
Pregnancy; Postpartum; Gestational weight gain; Weight retention; Health coaching; Randomized controlled trial
12.  Using pedometers to increase physical activity in overweight and obese women: a pilot study 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:309.
Most public health guidelines recommend that adults participate in 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week. Establishing new ways to achieve these targets in sedentary populations need to be explored. This research evaluated whether the daily use of pedometers could increase physical activity and improve health outcomes in sedentary overweight and obese women.
Twenty six overweight and obese middle-aged women were randomized into two groups: The control group was not able to record their steps daily, whilst the pedometer group, were asked to record the number of steps on a daily basis for 12 weeks.
Our data showed that the pedometer group significantly increased their steps/day, by 36%, at the end of the 12 weeks, whereas the control group's physical activity levels remained unchanged. There was no significant difference in weight or body fat composition in the pedometer group compared to the control group. However, there was a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure in the pedometer group (112.8 ± 2.44 mm Hg) compared to the control group (117.3 ± 2.03 mm Hg) (p = 0.003).
In conclusion, this pilot study shows that the combination of having step goals and immediate feedback from using a pedometer was effective in increasing physical activity levels in sedentary overweight and obese women.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC2741450  PMID: 19703317
13.  West End Walkers 65+: A randomised controlled trial of a primary care-based walking intervention for older adults: Study rationale and design 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:120.
In Scotland, older adults are a key target group for physical activity intervention due to the large proportion who are inactive. The health benefits of an active lifestyle are well established but more research is required on the most effective interventions to increase activity in older adults. The 'West End Walkers 65+' randomised controlled trial aims to examine the feasibility of delivering a pedometer-based walking intervention to adults aged ≥65 years through a primary care setting and to determine the efficacy of this pilot. The study rationale, protocol and recruitment process are discussed in this paper.
The intervention consisted of a 12-week pedometer-based graduated walking programme and physical activity consultations. Participants were randomised into an immediate intervention group (immediate group) or a 12-week waiting list control group (delayed group) who then received the intervention. For the pilot element of this study, the primary outcome measure was pedometer step counts. Secondary outcome measures of sedentary time and physical activity (time spent lying/sitting, standing or walking; activPAL™ monitor), mood (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule), functional ability (Perceived Motor-Efficacy Scale for Older Adults), quality of life (Short-Form (36) Health Survey version 2) and loneliness (UCLA Loneliness Scale) were assessed. Focus groups with participants and semi-structured interviews with the research team captured their experiences of the intervention. The feasibility component of this trial examined recruitment via primary care and retention of participants, appropriateness of the intervention for older adults and the delivery of the intervention by a practice nurse.
West End Walkers 65+ will determine the feasibility and pilot the efficacy of delivering a pedometer-based walking intervention through primary care to Scottish adults aged ≥65 years. The study will also examine the effect of the intervention on the well-being of participants and gain an insight into both participant and research team member experiences of the intervention.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC3050749  PMID: 21333020
14.  Use of pedometer-driven walking to promote physical activity and improve health-related quality of life among meat processing workers: a feasibility trial 
Current evidence supports the use of pedometers as effective motivational tools to promote physical activity and improve health-related quality of life in the general population. The aims of this study are to examine whether a pedometer-driven walking programme can improve health-related quality of life, and increase ambulatory activity in a population of meat processing workers when compared to a control group receiving educational material alone.
A feasibility study employing a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design will collect data at three time points. A sample of up to 60 meat workers will be recruited and randomly assigned to either an intervention group N = 30 (12-week pedometer-driven walking program, brief intervention, and educational material), or control group N = 30 (educational material only). The primary outcomes of ambulatory activity, health-related quality of life, and functional capacity, will be evaluated at baseline, immediately following the 12-week intervention and then at three month post-intervention.
This paper describes the design of a feasibility randomized controlled trial, which aims to assess the effectiveness of the introduction of a workplace pedometer-driven walking program compared to normal lifestyle advice in meat processing workers.
Trial Registration Number
(ANZCTR): 12613000087752.
PMCID: PMC3816299  PMID: 24175980
Physical activity; Pedometers; Walking intervention; Quality of life
15.  Study protocol: fit for delivery - can a lifestyle intervention in pregnancy result in measurable health benefits for mothers and newborns? A randomized controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:132.
The global obesity epidemic has led to increased attention on pregnancy, a period when women are at risk of gaining excessive weight. Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with numerous complications, for both mother and child. Though the problem is widespread, few studies have examined the effect of a lifestyle intervention in pregnancy designed to limit maternal weight gain. The Fit for Delivery study will explore the effectiveness of nutritional counseling coupled with exercise classes compared with standard prenatal care. The aims of the study are to examine the effect of the intervention on maternal weight gain, newborn birth weight, glucose regulation, complications of pregnancy and delivery, and maternal weight retention up to 12 months postpartum.
Fit for Delivery is a randomized controlled trial that will include 600 women expecting their first child. To be eligible, women must be 18 years of age or older, of less than 20 weeks gestational age, with a singleton pregnancy, and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥ 19 kg/m2. The women will be randomly allocated to either an intervention group or a control group. The control group will receive standard prenatal care. The intervention group will, in addition, receive nutritional counseling by phone, access to twice-weekly exercise sessions, and information on healthy eating and physical activity provided in pamphlets, evening meetings and an interactive website. Both groups will be monitored by weighing (including bioimpedance measurements of percent body fat), blood tests, self-report questionnaires and hospital record review.
Weight gained in pregnancy affects the health of both the mother and her unborn child, and simple models for efficient intervention are in high demand. The Fit for Delivery intervention provides concrete advice on limiting energy intake and practical training in increasing physical activity. This lifestyle intervention is simple, reproducible, and inexpensive. The design of the study reflects the realities of clinical practice, where patients are free to choose whether or not they respond to health initiatives. If we find measurable health benefits associated with the intervention, it may be an easily adopted supplement to routine prenatal care, in the prevention of obesity.
Trial registration, NCT01001689
PMCID: PMC3577450  PMID: 23406306
Pregnancy; Gestational weight gain; Nutrition; Exercise; Large for gestational age; Gestational diabetes; Weight retention; Randomized controlled trial
16.  The feasibility of using pedometers and brief advice to increase activity in sedentary older women – a pilot study 
People over the age of 70 carry the greatest burden of chronic disease, disability and health care use. Participation in physical activity is crucial for health, and walking accounts for much of the physical activity undertaken by sedentary individuals. Pedometers are a useful motivational tool to encourage increased walking and they are cheap and easy to use. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility of the use of pedometers plus a theory-based intervention to assist sedentary older women to accumulate increasing amounts of physical activity, mainly through walking.
Female participants over the age of 70 were recruited from primary care and randomised to receive either pedometer plus a theory-based intervention or a theory-based intervention alone. The theory-based intervention consisted of motivational techniques, goal-setting, barrier identification and self-monitoring with pedometers and daily diaries. The pedometer group were further randomised to one of three target groups: a 10%, 15% or 20% monthly increase in step count to assess the achievability and acceptability of a range of targets. The primary outcome was change in daily activity levels measured by accelerometry. Secondary outcome measures were lower limb function, health related quality of life, anxiety and depression.
54 participants were recruited into the study, with an average age of 76. There were 9 drop outs, 45 completing the study. All participants in the pedometer group found the pedometers easy to use and there was good compliance with diary keeping (96% in the pedometer group and 83% in the theory-based intervention alone group). There was a strong correlation (0.78) between accelerometry and pedometer step counts i.e. indicating that walking was the main physical activity amongst participants. There was a greater increase in activity (accelerometry) amongst those in the 20% target pedometer group compared to the other groups, although not reaching statistical significance (p = 0.192).
We have demonstrated that it is feasible to use pedometers and provide theory-based advice to community dwelling sedentary older women to increase physical activity levels and a larger study is planned to investigate this further.
PMCID: PMC2527003  PMID: 18691392
17.  A cognitive-behavioural pedometer-based group intervention on physical activity and sedentary behaviour in individuals with type 2 diabetes 
Health Education Research  2010;25(5):724-736.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the benefits of a pedometer and a cognitive-behavioural group intervention for promoting physical activity (PA) in type 2 diabetes patients. We recruited 41 participants and randomized them into an intervention group (IG) (n = 20) and a control group (CG) (n = 21). The intervention consisted of five sessions within 12 weeks, a booster session after 22 weeks and a pedometer. Primary outcome was PA assessed by accelerometer (minutes per day) and pedometer (steps per day). Secondary outcomes were weight, body mass index, blood pressure, haemoglobin A1c and total cholesterol. After 12 weeks, the IG increased with more than 2000 steps day−1 compared with the CG, whereas sedentary behaviour decreased more than 1 hour day−1 in the IG and showed no change in the CG. There was no intervention effect on the accelerometer-based PA nor on health measurements. After 1 year, the increase in steps per day remained significant in the IG, but sedentary activity increased again to baseline levels. This pilot study showed that the combination of a 12-week cognitive-behavioura intervention and a pedometer has a significant short-term impact on daily steps and sedentary behaviour but that the effects on total PA and long-term effects were limited.
PMCID: PMC2936553  PMID: 20338978
18.  Study protocol for reducing childbirth fear: a midwife-led psycho-education intervention 
Childbirth fear has received considerable attention in Scandinavian countries, and the United Kingdom, but not in Australia. For first-time mothers, fear is often linked to a perceived lack of control and disbelief in the body’s ability to give birth safely, whereas multiparous women may be fearful as a result of previous negative and/or traumatic birth experiences. There have been few well-designed intervention studies that test interventions to address women’s childbirth fear, support normal birth, and diminish the possibility of a negative birth experience.
Pregnant women in their second trimester of pregnancy will be recruited and screened from antenatal clinics in Queensland, Australia. Women reporting high childbirth fear will be randomly allocated to the intervention or control group. The psycho-educational intervention is offered by midwives over the telephone at 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. The intervention aims to review birth expectations, work through distressing elements of childbirth, discuss strategies to develop support networks, affirm that negative childbirth events can be managed and develop a birth plan. Women in the control group will receive standard care offered by the public funded maternity services in Australia. All women will receive an information booklet on childbirth choices. Data will be collected at recruitment during the second trimester, 36 weeks of pregnancy, and 4–6 weeks after birth.
This study aims to test the efficacy of a brief, midwife-led psycho-education counselling (known as BELIEF: Birth Emotions - Looking to Improve Expectant Fear) to reduce women’s childbirth fear. 1) Relative to controls, women receiving BELIEF will report lower levels of childbirth fear at term; 2) less decisional conflict; 3) less depressive symptoms; 4) better childbirth self-efficacy; and 5) improved health and obstetric outcomes.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Controlled Trials Registry ACTRN12612000526875.
PMCID: PMC3854500  PMID: 24139191
Pregnancy; Childbirth fear; Psycho-education; Midwife-led counselling; Randomised controlled trial; Postnatal depression; Decisional conflict; EQ-5D; Self-efficacy
19.  Steps that count! : The development of a pedometer-based health promotion intervention in an employed, health insured South African population 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:880.
Physical activity (PA) has been identified as a central component in the promotion of health. PA programs can provide a low cost intervention opportunity, encouraging PA behavioral change while worksites have been shown to be an appropriate setting for implementing such health promotion programs. Along with these trends, there has been an emergence of the use of pedometers as a self-monitoring and motivational aid for PA.
This study determines the effectiveness of a worksite health promotion program comprising of a 10-week, pedometer-based intervention (“Steps that Count!”), and individualized email-based feedback to effect PA behavioral change.
The study is a randomized controlled trial in a worksite setting, using pedometers and individualized email-based feedback to increase steps per day (steps/d). Participant selection will be based on attendance at a corporate wellness event and information obtained, following the completion of a Health Risk Appraisal (HRA), in keeping with inclusion criteria for the study. All participants will, at week 1 (pre-intervention), be provided with a blinded pedometer to assess baseline levels of PA. Participants will be provided with feedback on pedometer data and identify strategies to improve daily PA towards current PA recommendations. Participants will thereafter be randomly assigned to the intervention group (INT) or control group (CTL). The INT will subsequently wear an un-blinded pedometer for 10 consecutive weeks.
Individualized feedback messages based on average steps per day, derived from pedometer data (INT) and general supportive/motivational messages (INT+CTL), will be provided via bi-weekly e-mails; blinded pedometer-wear will be conducted at week 12 (post-intervention: INT+CTL).
The purpose of this paper is to outline the rationale behind, and the development of, an intervention aimed at improving ambulatory PA through pedometer use, combined with regular, individualized, email-based feedback. Pedometer-measured PA and individualized feedback may be a practical and easily applied intervention.
Trial registration
Number: DOH-27-0112-3951
PMCID: PMC3536647  PMID: 23075000
Pedometer; Health risk appraisal; Physical activity; Computer-based feedback
20.  Correlates of pedometer use: Results from a community-based physical activity intervention trial (10,000 Steps Rockhampton) 
Pedometers have become common place in physical activity promotion, yet little information exists on who is using them. The multi-strategy, community-based 10,000 Steps Rockhampton physical activity intervention trial provided an opportunity to examine correlates of pedometer use at the population level.
Pedometer use was promoted across all intervention strategies including: local media, pedometer loan schemes through general practice, other health professionals and libraries, direct mail posted to dog owners, walking trail signage, and workplace competitions. Data on pedometer use were collected during the 2-year follow-up telephone interviews from random population samples in Rockhampton, Australia, and a matched comparison community (Mackay). Logistic regression analyses were used to determine the independent influence of interpersonal characteristics and program exposure variables on pedometer use.
Data from 2478 participants indicated that 18.1% of Rockhampton and 5.6% of Mackay participants used a pedometer in the previous 18-months. Rockhampton pedometer users (n = 222) were more likely to be female (OR = 1.59, 95% CI: 1.11, 2.23), aged 45 or older (OR = 1.69, 95% CI: 1.16, 2.46) and to have higher levels of education (university degree OR = 4.23, 95% CI: 1.86, 9.6). Respondents with a BMI > 30 were more likely to report using a pedometer (OR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.11, 2.54) than those in the healthy weight range. Compared with those in full-time paid work, respondents in 'home duties' were significantly less likely to report pedometer use (OR = 0.18, 95% CI: 0.06, 0.53). Exposure to individual program components, in particular seeing 10,000 Steps street signage and walking trails or visiting the website, was also significantly associated with greater pedometer use.
Pedometer use varies between population subgroups, and alternate strategies need to be investigated to engage men, people with lower levels of education and those in full-time 'home duties', when using pedometers in community-based physical activity promotion initiatives.
PMCID: PMC1950707  PMID: 17655770
21.  Randomised controlled trial of a complex intervention by primary care nurses to increase walking in patients aged 60–74 years: protocol of the PACE-Lift (Pedometer Accelerometer Consultation Evaluation - Lift) trial 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:5.
Physical activity is essential for older peoples’ physical and mental health and for maintaining independence. Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes weekly, of at least moderate intensity physical activity, with activity on most days. Older people’s most common physical activity is walking, light intensity if strolling, moderate if brisker. Less than 20% of United Kingdom 65–74 year olds report achieving the guidelines, despite most being able to. Effective behaviour change techniques include strategies such as goal setting, self-monitoring, building self-efficacy and relapse prevention. Primary care physical activity consultations allow individual tailoring of advice. Pedometers measure step-counts and accelerometers measure physical activity intensity. This protocol describes an innovative intervention to increase walking in older people, incorporating pedometer and accelerometer feedback within a primary care nurse physical activity consultation, using behaviour change techniques.
Design: Randomised controlled trial with intervention and control (usual care) arms plus process and qualitative evaluations.
Participants: 300 people aged 60–74 years registered with 3 general practices within Oxfordshire and Berkshire West primary care trusts, able to walk outside and with no restrictions to increasing their physical activity.
Intervention: 3 month pedometer and accelerometer based intervention supported by practice nurse physical activity consultations. Four consultations based on behaviour change techniques, physical activity diary, pedometer average daily steps and accelerometer feedback on physical activity intensity. Individual physical activity plans based on increasing walking and other existing physical activity will be produced.
Outcomes: Change in average daily steps (primary outcome) and average time spent in at least moderate intensity physical activity weekly (secondary outcome) at 3 months and 12 months, assessed by accelerometry. Other outcomes include quality of life, mood, exercise self-efficacy, injuries. Qualitative evaluations will explore reasons for trial non-participation, the intervention’s acceptability to patients and nurses and factors enhancing or acting as barriers for older people in increasing their physical activity levels.
The PACE-Lift trial will determine the feasibility and efficacy of an intervention for increasing physical activity among older primary care patients. Steps taken to minimise bias and the challenges anticipated will be discussed. Word count 341.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC3543841  PMID: 23289648
Physical activity; Older people; Pedometers; Accelerometers; Walking intervention; Cognitive behavioural; Primary care; Practice nurse
Postpartum weight retention is a significant risk factor for long-term weight gain. Encouraging new mothers to consume a healthy diet may result in weight loss.
To assess predictors of diet quality during the early postpartum period; to determine if diet quality, energy intake, and lactation status predicted weight change from five to 15 months postpartum; and to determine whether an intervention improved diet quality, reduced energy intake, and achieved greater weight loss compared to usual care.
Randomized clinical trial (KAN-DO: Kids and Adults Now - Defeat Obesity), a family and home-based, ten-month, behavioral intervention to prevent childhood obesity, with secondary aims to improve diet and physical activity habits of mothers, in order to promote postpartum weight loss.
Overweight/obese, postpartum women (n=400), recruited from 14 counties in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.
Eight education kits, each mailed monthly; motivational counseling; and one group class.
Anthropometric measurements and 24-hour dietary recalls collected at baseline (approximately five months postpartum) and follow-up (approximately ten months later). Diet quality was determined using the Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005). 3
Statistical analyses
Descriptive statistics, chi-square, analysis of variance, bi-and multivariate analyses were performed.
At baseline, mothers consumed a low quality diet (HEI-2005 score = 64.4 ± 11.4). Breastfeeding and income were positive, significant predictors of diet quality; while BMI was a negative predictor. Diet quality did not predict weight change. However, total energy intake, not working outside of the home, and breastfeeding duration/intensity were negative predictors of weight loss. There were no significant differences in changes in diet quality, decreases in energy intake or weight loss between the intervention (2.3 ± 5.4 kg) and control (1.5 ± 4.7 kg) arms.
The family-based intervention did not promote postpartum weight loss. Reducing energy intake, rather than improving diet quality, should be the focus of weight loss interventions for overweight/obese postpartum women.
PMCID: PMC3529806  PMID: 23146549
Diet quality; HEI-2005; Postpartum weight loss; Obesity
23.  Taking Healthy Steps: rationale, design and baseline characteristics of a randomized trial of a pedometer-based internet-mediated walking program in veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Low levels of physical activity are common in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and a sedentary lifestyle is associated with poor outcomes including increased mortality, frequent hospitalizations, and poor health-related quality of life. Internet-mediated physical activity interventions may increase physical activity and improve health outcomes in persons with COPD.
This manuscript describes the design and rationale of a randomized controlled trial that tests the effectiveness of Taking Healthy Steps, an Internet-mediated walking program for Veterans with COPD. Taking Healthy Steps includes an uploading pedometer, a website, and an online community. Eligible and consented patients wear a pedometer to obtain one week of baseline data and then are randomized on a 2:1 ratio to Taking Healthy Steps or to a wait list control. The intervention arm receives iterative step-count feedback; individualized step-count goals, motivational and informational messages, and access to an online community. Wait list controls are notified that they are enrolled, but that their intervention will start in one year; however, they keep the pedometer and have access to a static webpage.
Participants include 239 Veterans (mean age 66.7 years, 93.7% male) with 155 randomized to Taking Healthy Steps and 84 to the wait list control arm; rural-living (45.2%); ever-smokers (93.3%); and current smokers (25.1%). Baseline mean St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire Total Score was 46.0; 30.5% reported severe dyspnea; and the average number of comorbid conditions was 4.9. Mean baseline daily step counts was 3497 (+/- 2220).
Veterans with COPD can be recruited to participate in an online walking program. We successfully recruited a cohort of older Veterans with a significant level of disability including Veterans who live in rural areas using a remote national recruitment strategy.
Trial registration
Clinical NCT01102777
PMCID: PMC3946238  PMID: 24491137
COPD; Chronic bronchitis; Emphysema; Quality of life; Exercise; Physical activity; Internet; Pedometer; Walking; Veterans
24.  Does physical activity counselling enhance the effects of a pedometer-based intervention over the long-term: 12-month findings from the Walking for Wellbeing in the west study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:206.
Pedometers provide a simple, cost effective means of motivating individuals to increase walking yet few studies have considered if short term changes in walking behaviour can be maintained in the long-term. The role of physical activity consultations in such interventions is unclear. The purpose of this study was to assess the sustainability of pedometer-based interventions and empirically examine the role of physical activity consultations using long-term results of a community-based walking study.
79 low active Scottish men and women (63 women and 16 men) from the Walking for Wellbeing in the West intervention study were randomly assigned to receive either: Group 1; pedometer-based walking programme plus physical activity consultations or Group 2; pedometer-based walking programme and minimal advice. Step counts (Omron HJ-109E Step-O-Meter pedometer), 7 day recall of physical activity (IPAQ long), mood (PANAS) and quality of life (EuroQol EQ-5D) were assessed pre-intervention and 12, 24 and 48 weeks after receiving the intervention. Body mass, body mass index and waist and hip circumference were assessed pre-intervention and 12 and 24 weeks after receiving the intervention. Analyses were performed on an intention to treat basis (baseline value carried forward for missing data) using mixed-factorial ANOVAs and follow-up t-tests.
A significant main effect of time (p < 0.001) was found for step-counts attributable to significant increases in steps/day between: pre-intervention (M = 6941, SD = 3047) and 12 weeks (M = 9327, SD = 4136), t(78) = - 6.52, p < 0.001, d = 0.66; pre-intervention and 24 weeks (M = 8804, SD = 4145), t(78) = - 4.82, p < 0.001, d = 0.52; and pre-intervention and 48 weeks (M = 8450, SD = 3855), t(78) = - 4.15, p < 0.001, d = 0.44. Significant effects were found for several variables of self-reported physical activity, mood and quality of life and are discussed. No other significant effects in health related outcomes were found.
Both interventions successfully increased and maintained step counts over 12 months. Physical activity consultations may encourage individuals to be active in other ways beyond walking and to reduce sitting time.
Trial Registration Number
Current Controlled Trials Ltd ISRCTN88907382
PMCID: PMC3349531  PMID: 22429600
25.  A randomized trial comparing structured and lifestyle goals in an internet-mediated walking program for people with type 2 diabetes 
The majority of individuals with type 2 diabetes do not exercise regularly. Pedometer-based walking interventions can help; however, pedometer-based interventions targeting only total daily accumulated steps might not yield the same health benefits as physical activity programs specifying a minimum duration and intensity of physical activity bouts.
This pilot randomized trial compared two goal-setting strategies: 1) lifestyle goals targeting total daily accumulated step counts and 2) structured goals targeting bout steps defined as walking that lasts for 10 minutes or longer at a pace of at least 60 steps per minute. We sought to determine which goal-setting strategy was more effective at increasing bout steps. Participants were sedentary adults with type 2 diabetes. All participants: wore enhanced pedometers with embedded USB ports; uploaded detailed, time-stamped step-count data to a website called Stepping Up to Health; and received automated step-count feedback, automatically calculated goals, and tailored motivational messages throughout the six-week intervention. Only the automated goal calculations and step-count feedback differed between the two groups. The primary outcome of interest was increase in steps taken during the previously defined bouts of walking (lasting at least 10 minutes or longer at a pace of at least 60 steps per minute) between baseline and end of the intervention.
Thirty-five participants were randomized and 30 (86%) completed the pilot study. Both groups significantly increased bout steps, but there was no statistically significant difference between groups. Among study completers, bout steps increased by 1921 ± 2729 steps a day. Those who received lifestyle goals were more satisfied with the intervention (p = 0.006) and wore the pedometer more often (p < 0.001) than those who received structured goals.
In this six-week intervention, Lifestyle Goals group participants achieved increases in bout steps comparable to the increases seen in the Structured Goals group, representing almost a mile a day of additional moderate intensity bout activity. Pedometer-based walking programs that emphasize total accumulated step counts are more acceptable to participants and are as effective at increasing moderate intensity bouts of physical activity as programs that use structured goals.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC2212636  PMID: 18021411

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