The Effect of Feedback and Information on Children’s Pedometer Step Counts at School

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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This study examined whether feedback or feedback plus physical activity information could increase the number of pedometer steps taken during 1 school week. One hundred seventy-seven students (mean age 9.124 ± 1.11 years) in three elementary schools participated. Schools were randomly assigned to control (CON), feedback (FB), or feedback plus information (FB+I) groups. Children wore pedometers during school time for 5 consecutive weekdays. The total steps of the groups were recorded at the end of each school day, with students in the FB and FB+I groups free to view their step counts. In addition, the FB+I group received information and ideas about how they could increase their daily steps. The CON group received no step-count feedback or information. Students in the FB+I group achieved significantly more steps per minute (17.17 ± 4.87) than those in the FB (13.77 ± 4.06, p = 0.003) and CON (12.41 ± 3.12, p = 0.0001) groups. Information, as well as step-count feedback, increased elementary students’ school-based physical activity (number of steps) in the short term. A longer intervention period is necessary to assess the sustained impact of this type of approach.

Butcher and Fairclough are with the School of Physical and Outdoor Education and the REACH group, Stratton and Richardson are with the Research Institute for Sport & Exercise Sciences and the REACH group, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK L2 3ET.