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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Does a 6-month pedometer intervention improve physical activity and health among vulnerable African Americans, a feasibility study

item Zoellner, Jamie
item Powers, Alicia
item Williams, Amanda Avis
item Ndirangu, Murugi
item Strickland, Earline
item Rowser, Marjuyua
item Lucas, Gwendolyn
item Connell, Carol
item Yadrick, Kathleen
item Bogle, Margaret

Submitted to: Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/25/2009
Publication Date: 3/1/2010
Citation: Zoellner, J., Powers, A., Williams, A., Ndirangu, M., Strickland, E., Rowser, M., Lucas, G.D., Connell, C., Yadrick, K., Bogle, M.L. 2010. Does a 6-month pedometer intervention improve physical activity and health among vulnerable African Americans, a feasibility study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 7:224-231.

Interpretive Summary: Obesity rates in the rural Delta are higher than in the rest of the United States, and efforts to increase physical activity as a part of obesity prevention are extremely difficult. There is little research available on the use of pedometers to monitor steps taken in walking, especially in low income, rural communities. This would be an objective measure to determine walking activity as part of an intervention targeting nutrition and physical activity. Participants are also asked to keep diaries of the steps taken or minutes of walking during the day, which provides a subjective measure of activity. This study was to see if rural, African Americans would make behavioral changes necessary to increase their walking activity from a baseline measurement, wear a pedometer, and record their physical activity in a daily diary. Local community persons served as "coaches" to encourage and keep them motivated to walk over time. Over the six-month intervention period the participants were very positive and enthusiastic about wearing the pedometers and recording in their diaries, and indicated that both served as motivators to increasing their steps taken daily. This research suggests that the use of pedometer diaries is a feasible research method and motivational tool for community-based physical activity interventions targeting disadvantaged, rural, African American populations.

Technical Abstract: Adult obesity rates in the rural lower Mississippi Delta are higher than in the rest of the United States. In addition to changing food choice behavior, it is imperative to change physical activity behaviors. There is limited research available regarding the feasibility of pedometer diaries in physical activity interventions targeting African Americans in rural areas with limited opportunities for organized physical activity. The objectives of this study were to: 1) assess participant adherence to maintaining a 6-month pedometer diary; 2) test intervention effectiveness by examining changes in steps per day; and 3) qualitatively explore the acceptability of maintaining a pedometer diary. The 83 enrolled participants were primarily African American (98%) women (94%). There was an 85% adherence rate for maintaining a 6-month pedometer diary. In addition, there was a significant increase in the average number of daily steps, beginning with 6,683 steps per day during month one and increasing to 9,281 steps per day during the sixth month. Over the 6-month period individuals increased their steps per day by approximately 39% or 2600 steps. Identified benefits of wearing the pedometers (motivating to see what was happening, to set goals, to increase steps on a daily basis, etc.) outnumbered the barriers to wearing the pedometers (forgetting to put on pedometer, not recording steps on some days, etc.). This research suggests that pedometer diaries are a viable intervention tool and research method in rural, low income, African American community-based interventions to target obesity.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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