Environmental modifications and 2-year measured and self-reported stair-use: A worksite randomized trial

Dan J. Graham, Jennifer A Linde, Julie M. Cousins, Robert W Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Environmental modifications have been shown to increase short-term stair use, longer-term success is unclear. This study assessed the 2-year effectiveness of an environmental intervention promoting worksite stair use. We assessed stair use at work by means of self-reports and infrared beamcounters (which send a safe and invisible beamof infrared light from one side of a stairwell to a reflector on the other side;when an individual uses the stairs, the infrared beamis disrupted and an instance of stair use is recorded) at six worksites (three intervention, three control) in a group randomized, controlled worksiteweight-gain prevention trial in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. Intervention modifications were signs encouraging stair use, music, and art posters in stairwells. We collected data before environmental modifications (2006-2007) and at the end of the 2-year intervention (2008-2009). The intervention had a significant positive effect on stair use measured both objectively and via self-report, with greatest increases reported among those participants who used the stairs least at baseline. Following 2-years of continuouslymaintained stairwell modifications, increases in both objectively-measured and self-reported stair use were significantly larger at intervention than control worksites. Study findings suggest that the positive impact of environmental modifications on stair use persist over a longer time period than has been previously demonstrated. Results also indicate that infrequent stair users may be most amenable to the behavior changes encouraged by these environmental enhancements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-422
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Environmental modification
  • Intervention
  • Stair use
  • Worksite

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