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Pedometer Pushes People to Walk More
Date:11/20/2007

More steps lead to lower blood pressure, more weight loss, study finds

TUESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- People who start a walking program for their health get more out of it by using a pedometer, a device that counts their steps, a new study shows.

"People who use pedometers increase their physical activity by about 2,000 steps a day, about a mile," said study author Dr. Dena M. Bravata, a senior research scientist at Stanford University. "They also seem to lower their blood pressure more and lose more weight."

The conclusion, reported in the Nov. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, comes from an analysis of 26 studies with a total of 2,767 participants. Most were observational studies, which means the researchers simply watched what the volunteers did, while eight had some scientific controls.

Pedometer users in the controlled trials increased their physical activity by 2,491 steps per day more than those who didn't use the devices. The comparable increase for pedometer users in observational trials was 2,183 steps per day.

Pedometer users also had their systolic blood pressure -- the higher number -- fall by an average of 3.8 millimeters. A 2-mm reduction is associated with a 10 percent reduction in stroke mortality and a 7 percent reduction in death from blood vessel conditions, Bravata noted. And pedometer users also reduced their body-mass index by 0.4 percent -- about 2.5 pounds for a 195-pound individual.

One valuable input of pedometer use was that it seemed to increase motivation for more physical activity. "The more sedentary you were, the more likely this tool was to help you," Bravata said. "The effect on workplace interventions was not as great, because the people who participate in workplace programs are higher baseliners."

The study does have limitations, Bravata noted. Only 15 percent of the participants were men, and the average dur
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