Pedometers Can Prevent and Manage Certain Chronic Diseases

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Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

Pedometers can track our steps and tell us how active we are but do they provide additional benefits?Evidence shows using a pedometer as an intervention can reduce risk of disease and mange chronic disease.


Pedometers measure the number of steps taken in a day. Pedometers have been shown to promote physical activity. Physical activity is known to help prevent and manage numerous chronic diseases. For those who suffer from chronic diseases physical inactivity costs $67.5 billion annual in healthcare expenditures and loss of productivity. Pedometers have gained recognition as an intervention for physical activity, reducing risks for chronic diseases.

Type 2 Diabetes

A study conducted this year from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center examined the effects of physician-delivered step count prescription and monitoring. The study included 364 patients and 74 physicians. All patients continued their normal medical routine. Patients at random were given a step count prescription and pedometer to measure their steps. Over a 1-year period, their physicians reviewed their records and provided a written step count prescription at each clinic visit. After one year patients who received the step count prescription walked 1,200 steps more per day on average than patients who were not. Those with type 2 diabetes lowered their blood sugar levels by 38 percent and showed improvement in insulin resistance.( Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/dom.12874)

Musculoskeletal Diseases

A systematic review examined the effectiveness of pedometer-driven walking programs to promote physical activity among patients with musculoskeletal disorders. The review included seven studies from 1998 to 2013, 484 participants’ ages 40 to 82 years. The intervention lasted four weeks to 12 months. Across all studies there was an average increase of 1,950 steps a day. The review found strong evidence that pedometer walking interventions increase physical activity levels for patients with musculoskeletal disorders. (BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders201415:231 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-231)


Higher levels of physical activity are linked to better functional status, fewer hospital admissions and lower mortality for those with COPD. In a piolet study researchers examined the usefulness and safety of a new program that combined pedometer with a website to increase walking. The study included 27 participants with stable COPD who wore a pedometer and used a website for 90 days. Participants uploaded their step count to the website with their home computer and received an email each week with their individualized step-count goal. The website provided step-count feedback, education, and motivational content. Monthly participants participated in phone interviews. They reported changes in medical conditions via phone or website. The study found the waking program to be useful and safe. The results suggested that this intervention has the potential to provide a widely accessible, ongoing home-based exercise program. ("A Pilot Study of an Internet Walking Program and Pedometer in COPD." N.p., n.d. Web

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting (2015) looked at the problem of fatigue in RA. University of California- San Francisco researchers recruited 96 people from previous studies and rheumatology clinics to participate in a study and observed the effects of daily physical activity on RA-related fatigue. Among the 96 participants, 88 percent were women with an average age of 54 and who had been diagnosed with RA an average of 14 years and 60 percent took glucocorticoids and 60 percent biologics. At the start of the study each participant filled out a Health Assessment Questionnaire. They also reported their level of fatigue with participants having an average fatigue score of 50. All participants wore a pedometer for one week to determine their starting level of activity with the average number of steps being 3,710. After the first week participants were randomized to one of three groups; education and physical activity with no intervention, pedometer and diary to record their daily steps, and the third group received a pedometer, step diary, and a goal of increasing their steps by 10 percent every two weeks. All of the groups received a follow-up call at 10 weeks and participated in an in-person follow up at 21 weeks. Group two increased their steps by 87 percent, and group three by 159 percent. Both pedometer groups’ increased average daily steps by 125 percent, The team concluded people with RA should add more daily steps to their day to reduce fatigue, improve mood and maintain a healthy weight.( Pedometers: The New Prescription For Rheumatoid Arthritis". N.p., 2017. Web. 21 Apr. 2017)

Improved Health

A systematic review assessed the association between pedometer use with physical activity and health outcomes among adult outpatients. The review included 26 studies with 2,757 participants with an average age of 49 years and 80 percent were women. The intervention ran for 18 weeks. Participants that used pedometers significantly increased their steps by 2,491 per day compared to control group. Overall pedometer users increased their steps by 26.9 percent more per day. Decreased body mass index by 38 percent and decreased systolic blood pressure by 3.8mm hg. The results showed using a pedometer is linked with a significant increase of physical activity, significant decrease in body mass index and blood pressure. (Using Pedometers to Increase Physical Activity and Improve Health A Systematic Review JAMA, November 21, 2007—Vol 298, No. 19)

Pedometers and Health

The American Heart Association recommends we have 10,000 steps a day. When using a pedometer count how many steps you take in a day. Each week increase your steps by 1,000 until you reach 10,000 a day. Pedometers have been shown to reduce chronic conditions and improve physical health.


The economic burden of physical inactivity: a global analysis of major non-communicable diseases. The Lancet, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30383-X
KTA Evidence Summary: Pedometer-bas
ed Interventions to Reduce Risk for and Manage Chronic Disease


Arthritis, Body Mass Index, Copd, Disease, Health Conditions, Improved Health, Musculoskeletal Diseases, Pedometers, Physical Activity, Reduced Risks, Type 2 Diabetes, Walking

Meet the author

author avatar authordeb
Author of the Love and Laughter series
Alternative Medicine Practitioner
Freelance Health Write
Works with Media companies for interviews and articles such as Howie Mandel for Afib,

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