Staff walking program: a quasi-experimental trial of maintenance newsletters to maintain walking following a pedometer program

Janelle Borg, Dafna Merom, Chris Rissel
Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2010, 21 (1): 26-32

ISSUE ADDRESSED: The Step by Step self-help walking program plus a pedometer previously motivated a community sample of adults to be physically active for up to three months. This study evaluates the effect of enhancement of this program over an additional nine months in a workplace.

METHODS: A quasi-experimental trial was conducted. Staff defined as inactive received the three month walking program and a pedometer (standard), or the three month program plus four maintenance newsletters over nine months (standard+maintenance). After 12 months a follow-up interview was conducted. Measures included changes in self-reported minutes walking, minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), total physical activity (PA) in the past week, and the proportion meeting public health recommendations by walking and total PA.

RESULTS: Significant increases on all outcome measures were noted for all participants. There were no between group differences in walking minutes. However, the change in MVPA minutes was significantly higher in the standard+maintenance group compared with the standard group (118 min vs 69 min, P=0.029). No significant between group differences were observed for total PA (161 min vs 117 min, P=0.187). Wearing the pedometer at the month of the follow-up interview, and thinking that the pedometer was very useful, increased the likelihood of meeting public health recommendations (AOR=2.7 and 2.5) adjusting for other covariates.

CONCLUSIONS: Dissemination of the Step by Step guidebook with pedometers in the workplace resulted in a long-term increase in PA of inactive employees with no extra support. Newsletters as a maintenance strategy had no additional benefits. Better outcomes were noted if the pedometer was used and was perceived as being very useful.

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