204649 Moving more: Use of pedometers and emails to facilitate physical activity among African Americans

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM

Phoebe Butler-Ajibade, EdD , Department of Human Performance and Leisure Studies, North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro, NC
Inactivity is a serious health problem, especially among African Americans. Less than 1/3 of adults engage in the recommended amounts of physical activity. Many people live sedentary lives 40% of adults in the United States do not participate in any leisure time physical activity. The implications are increased levels of obesity, diabetes type 2, hypertension, cholesterol, and depression. Physical activity is medicine and may reduce medical problems or the need for medications. The Surgeon General and American College of Sports Medicine recommend that people obtain a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week.

In order to increase the motivation for physical activity, this worksite program utilized pedometers and motivational emails. The email messages were used to remind participants to be active and to record their steps. Participants were asked to wear the pedometers daily, record their daily steps on a log, and submit their electronic log of steps taken at the end of each week.

The majority of the participants were black females. The mean age was 50, ranging from 23 through 59. The mean weight was 195, ranging from 132 through 255 pounds. The mean BMI was 31.6, ranging from 22 through 39. The mean waist circumference was 39.25, ranging from 28 through 47 inches.

Participants were more likely to record their steps during the week versus weekends. The number of weekly steps taken ranged from 6,526 steps to 95,867. The weekly average of steps ranged from 2,200 to 13,695 steps per day. The black males who participated in the program were more likely to record their daily steps and submit their weekly logs. Use of the pedometers did increase the number of daily steps by an average of 2,000 steps per day, between weeks one and six. Receipts of the motivational emails did facilitate increased pedometer use and reporting of weekly steps. Most of the participants lost five pounds during the six week program. Challenges of the technology included loss of the pedometers and a short battery life. Overall, the use of technology did increase the number of daily steps taken.

Learning Objectives:
Describe weight management program used at a worksite. Identify the role of technology in motivating people to be more active. Compare the differences between males and females in technology use for physical activity. Discuss the pros and cons of using technology to promote increased physical activity.

Keywords: Obesity, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Extensive training in interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease. Created, implemented and evaluated technology based programs for promotion of physical activity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.