Abstract P145: Using an Activity Monitor to Motivate Physical Activity among Healthy Employees: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Background: Worksite physical activity programs have the potential to reduce sedentary behavior of large populations of employees. Activity monitors are promising tools for motivating individuals to increase physical activity, but it is unknown whether this is an effective strategy for a relatively healthy employee population.
Methods: We conducted a 2-phase trial to assess the effectiveness of providing 102 internal medicine residents with an activity monitor for 12 weeks. The first phase (6 weeks) was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with half of the residents randomized to wear a monitor with visible feedback (steps, calories, activity level) and half the residents randomized to wear a blinded monitor (control). The second phase (6 weeks) was a team competition (TC), and all residents were unblinded and divided into 3 teams (interns, juniors, seniors) that competed on weekly steps. To increase compliance over 12 weeks, we conducted a weekly lottery for two $10 gift cards among subjects who wore the monitor for at least 5 of 7 days. Pedometer use (defined as > 500 steps/day) was compared across groups using chi-squared tests. We compared mean daily steps on days when pedometer was worn between control and intervention groups using generalized linear mixed models with participant as a random effect.
Results: Baseline demographics and weight did not differ between control and intervention. Mean age was 29, 54% were female, and mean BMI was 24.2. Mean daily steps at baseline (week 1) were 8,084 (SD 3565). During the RCT phase (6 weeks), control and intervention groups did not differ in mean daily steps, but over the entire study (12 weeks), the intervention group logged 403 more steps per day than control (p<.001). During the 6- week TC phase, subjects logged 297 more steps per day than during the 6-week RCT (p=.001). A similar proportion of subjects from both groups wore the pedometer during the 6-week RCT (75%), but despite unblinding during the second 6 weeks (TC), pedometer usage was lower in the control group compared to intervention (55% vs. 63%, p<.001).
Conclusions: Compliance with using an activity monitor in this young employee population was relatively high but started to decrease after 6 weeks. Although the effect size was small, providing an activity monitor and creating a team competition was effective for motivating employees to increase activity over the short term. Future study is needed to evaluate long-term effectiveness among a more sedentary population.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.