Growing healthy families: Family use of pedometers to increase physical activity and slow the rate of obesity

Brenda L. Rooney, Lisa R. Gritt, Sarah J. Havens, Michelle A. Mathiason, Elizabeth A. Clough

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: We conducted a study to determine if wearing a pedometer affects weight, body mass index (BMI), or mediators of physical activity among families. Methods: Eighty-seven families were randomized to 1 of 3 treatments: pedometer plus education (PE), pedometer (P), or control (C). Participants in the PE and P groups wore pedometers and were encouraged to walk 10,000 steps daily for 12 weeks. PE group participants attended 6 sessions on healthy eating and exercise. Participants were surveyed about their knowledge and attitudes about healthy eating and physical activity prior to randomization, at the end of the intervention, and 9 months later. Their heights and weights were measured and BMI calculated. Results: Children's BMI percentile decreased from baseline to end of intervention (-0.18%) and at 9-month follow-up (-0.08%) but did not differ by treatment. Children's BMI percentile varied by parental obesity status (average BMI percentile was 88.7% for children of obese parents and 78.5% for children of non-obese parents). Parents' weight decreased slightly by intervention's end (0.6 pounds) and at 9 months (1.2 pounds), but change was similar among groups. Attitudes about their physical activity level relative to their peers improved significantly among children and parents wearing the pedometer. Self-efficacy improved for parents wearing the pedometer. Both children and parents felt the pedometer increased their activity level, but most were unlikely to wear it beyond the intervention. Conclusions: The pedometer had little impact on the activity level, weight, or BMI of participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalWisconsin medical journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


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