Prompting Health Professionals to Be Activity Role Models—Motivating Stair Use at the 2001 ACSM Scientific Meeting

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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This intervention promoted stair use among people attending the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual meeting.


All attendees using the stairs or escalators in the main lobby were unobtrusively observed for 3 days and coded for activity choices to get to the second floor. During day 2, a prominent sign stating “Be a role model. Use the stairs!” encouraged point-of-choice decisions favoring stairs over the escalator. The sign was removed on day 3.


16,978 observations were made. Stair use increased from 22.0% on day 1 to 29.3% and 26.8% on days 2 and 3, respectively (P values < .001). Active choices (stair use or walk up escalator) increased from 28.3% on day 1 to 40.1% and 40.2% on subsequent days. Analyses were similar after adjustment for gender, estimated age category, and race.


Relatively few conference attendees were persuaded to model stair-use behavior. Health professionals should be encouraged to be “active living” role models.

Andersen, Franckowiak, and Reilley are with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Baltimore, MD 21224. Andersen is also with the Dept of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H2W 1S4. Bauman is with the Center for Physical Activity and Health, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006 Australia. Marshall is with the School of Human Movement, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, 4059 Australia.