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Nutrition and Food Systems


Background: Walking for exercise remains the most frequently reported leisure-time activity, likely because it is simple, inexpensive, and easily incorporated into most people's lifestyle. Pedometers are simple, convenient, and economical tools that can be used to quantify step-determined physical activity. Few studies have attempted to define the direct relationship between dynamic changes in pedometer-determined steps/day and changes in anthropometric and clinical outcomes. Hence, the objective of this secondary analysis was to evaluate the utility of several descriptive indicators of pedometer-determined steps/day for predicting changes in anthropometric and clinical outcomes using data from a community-based walking intervention, HUB City Steps, conducted in a southern, African American population. A secondary aim was to evaluate whether treating steps/day data for implausible values affected the ability of these data to predict intervention-induced changes in clinical and anthropometric outcomes. Methods: The data used in this secondary analysis were collected in 2010 from 269 participants in a six-month walking intervention targeting a reduction in blood pressure. Throughout the intervention, participants submitted weekly steps/day diaries based on pedometer self-monitoring. Changes (six-month minus baseline) in anthropometric (body mass index, waist circumference, percent body fat [%BF], fat mass) and clinical (blood pressure, lipids, glucose) outcomes were evaluated. Associations between steps/day indicators and changes in anthropometric and clinical outcomes were assessed using bivariate tests and multivariable linear regression analysis which controlled for demographic and baseline covariates. Results: Significant negative bivariate associations were observed between steps/day indicators and the majority of anthropometric and clinical outcome changes (r = -0.3 to -0.2: P < 0.05). After controlling for covariates in the regression analysis, only the relationships between steps/day indicators and changes in anthropometric (not clinical) outcomes remained significant. For example, a 1,000 steps/day increase in intervention mean steps/day resulted in a 0.1% decrease in %BF. Results for the three pedometer datasets (full, truncated, and excluded) were similar and yielded few meaningful differences in interpretation of the findings. Conclusions: Several descriptive indicators of steps/day may be useful for predicting anthropometric outcome changes. Further, manipulating steps/day data to address implausible values has little overall effect on the ability to predict these anthropometric changes.

Publication Title

BMC Public Health



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