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  • Author: Cara L. Sidman x
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Cara L. Sidman, Jennifer L. Huberty and Yong Gao

This study has two purposes: (1) to observe the step-count patterns of adult women who participated in an eight-month healthy lifestyle-based book club intervention and (2) to describe step-count patterns across seasons and body mass index (BMI) categories. Sixty-two participants (mean age ± SD = 53 ± 9, 92% Caucasians) had complete pedometer data, which was used for data analysis. After weekly, hour-long, discussion-based meetings during months one through four, and bi-monthly meetings during months five through eight, women increased their step counts by 26%. Significant step-count differences were observed among seasons (p < .05), and from pre- to post-intervention (p < .05), with the lowest steps being reported in the fall and the highest in the spring. Women in the obese category continued to increase steps during the winter, while the healthy-weight group decreased steps. There was a significant correlation between the average steps taken during the intervention and changes in BMI from pre- to post-intervention (r = −.26, p < .05). Overall, positive step-count pattern observations were found among adult women participating in a healthy lifestyle-based intervention.

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Kelly B. Lynch, Charles B. Corbin and Cara L. Sidman


Current guidelines encourage adults to perform regular physical activity (PA) for optimal health, yet the majority of adults fail to meet the guidelines. One explanation for the difficulty in adding PA to meet recommended levels is an internal PA control center that may result in a compensatory lowering of normal activity levels after “added activity” sessions during the day. The purpose of this study was to test the compensation hypothesis by assessing PA on days of “added” PA among adults.


Twenty middle-aged adults recorded daily step counts, in addition to step counts and minutes of basketball play. To test for compensation, step counts on nonbasketball days were compared with steps counts on basketball days (excluding basketball steps).


No significant differences (F = 0.711) were found between groups. In summary, no compensatory decrease in PA was identified on basketball participation days in this population. When steps in basketball were added, differences (P = .01) in daily step counts existed between basketball days (mean = 15,568) and nonbasketball days (mean = 8,408).


These results suggest that “added” PA (basketball) does not result in compensatory reductions in typical daily PA on days of “added” activity for the population studied.

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Cara L. Sidman, Charles B. Corbin and Matthew Rhea

National guidelines have emphasized the benefits of moderate physical activity for promoting health and reducing sedentary behavior, a lifestyle particularly common in women (USDHHS, 2000). This has led to the marketing and promotion of 10,000 steps per day using a pedometer, even though empirical evidence to support this step goal is lacking. The purposes of this study were to determine if this prescribed daily step goal was attainable for sedentary women and to determine the effect of this goal on step counts. Forty-five sedentary women, who were divided into three groups based on mean baseline step counts (very low activity, VLA; low activity, LA; more active, MA) were asked to attain 10,000 steps per day for four weeks. Based upon our analyses, the VLA and LA groups attained the 10,000-step goal a significantly lower mean number of days per week than the MA group. Although the VLA group was not able to attain 10,000 steps per day over the short term, they did increase their step counts in response to a 10,000-step daily goal. In fact, the weekly mean step counts for all three groups improved from baseline as the study progressed. There was, however, a significant decline in step counts from step goal week 3 to week 4 in the MA group, whereas the step counts remained significantly higher than baseline for all four weeks in the VLA and LA groups. As hypothesized, sedentary women with low baseline step counts were low in goal attainment. Counter to hypothesized, motivated sedentary women responded to the 10,000-step goal over the short-term with increased step counts, even when goal attainment was low. Additional research is necessary to test the long-term adherence to the 10,000-step goal among sedentary women. In addition more comprehensive study of step counting as a motivator of activity is necessary including comparison of the 10,000-step goal standard to individualized goals based on baseline step counts.