A Statistical Summary of Mall-Based Stair-Climbing Interventions

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Stair climbing is an accessible activity with proven health benefits. This article summarizes the effectiveness of mall-based stair-climbing interventions, while controlling for, and examining, potential moderators of stair/escalator choice.

Methods:

Six comparable studies were identified, which used poster/ banner prompts to promote stair choice. Original data were combined and analyzed using logistic regression. Pedestrians’ stair/escalator choices (N = 127,221) provided the dichotomous outcome variable. Demographics (eg, gender), condition (baseline vs. intervention), and ‘pedestrian traffic volume’ were entered as potential moderators. To examine durability of effects, the rate of stair climbing in each half of the intervention period was compared.

Results:

Overall, stair choice was more common in men (odds ratio [OR] = 1.72), under-60s (OR = 1.91), Whites (OR = 1.38), those without accompanying children (OR = 1.53), and periods of high traffic (OR = 1.55). The rate of stair climbing increased in the intervention phase relative to baseline (OR = 2.09), with greater effects among women (OR = 1.99) versus men (OR = 1.86), and under-60s (OR = 2.62) versus over-60s (OR = 1.93). Intervention effects fell slightly during the second half of the intervention period (OR = 0.92).

Conclusions:

Conventional mass media campaigns engage an extra 5.0% of people in physical activity. The current calculations indicate that comparatively simple poster/banner prompts can increase stair climbing in mall settings by 6.0%.

Webb is with the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom. Eves is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Kerr is with the Dept of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego.

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