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Open Access Research

Moderators and mediators of pedometer use and step count increase in the "10,000 Steps Ghent" intervention

Katrien De Cocker1*, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij1, Wendy Brown2 and Greet Cardon1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

2 School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2009, 6:3  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-3

Published: 12 January 2009

Abstract

Background

The European pedometer-based "10,000 Steps Ghent" whole community intervention for 228,000 residents was found to be effective in increasing step counts by an average of 896 steps/day in a sub-sample of adults. The present study aimed to examine the characteristics of intervention participants (n = 438) who (1) used a pedometer and (2) increased their step counts. Additionally, the third aim was to examine the mediational effect of pedometer use on step count change.

Methods

The study sample consisted of 438 adults (207 male, mean age 49.8 (13.1) years). Binary logistic regressions were used to examine whether individual characteristics (gender, age, educational level, employment status, self-reported health condition, baseline step counts, baseline sitting time, baseline transport-related PA) and intervention exposure variables (having heard/seen a PA promotion message, being aware of the PA guidelines, and knowing about "10,000 Steps Ghent") were associated with (1) pedometer use and (2) a step count increase of 896 steps/day or more. Using pooled data (n = 864) from the intervention and comparison participants, a mediation analysis was conducted to see if the change in step counts was mediated by pedometer use.

Results

Age (49 years or more: OR = 3.19, p < 0.005), awareness of a PA promotion message (OR = 2.62, p < 0.01) and awareness of "10,000 Steps Ghent" (OR = 2.11, p < 0.05) were significantly associated with pedometer use. Participants with a college or university degree (OR = 1.55, p < 0.05) and those who used a pedometer (OR = 2.06, p < 0.05) were more likely to increase their steps by 896 steps/day or more. This increase was less likely among those with baseline step counts above 10,000 steps/day (OR = 0.38, p < 0.001). The mediation analysis revealed that pedometer use partly mediated step count change.

Conclusion

Pedometer use was more likely in older participants and in those who were aware of the "10,000 Steps" campaign. Increasing step counts was more likely among those with higher education, baseline step counts below 10,000 steps/day and those who used a pedometer. Pedometer use only partly mediated the intervention effect on step counts.