Do pedometers increase physical activity in sedentary older women? A randomized controlled trial

Marion E. T. McMurdo, Jacqui Sugden, Ishbel Argo, Paul Boyle, Derek Johnston, Falko F. Sniehotta, Peter T. Donnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To determine the effectiveness of a behavior change intervention (BCI) with or without a pedometer in increasing physical activity in sedentary older women.

DESIGN: Prospective randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Primary care, City of Dundee, Scotland.

PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred four sedentary women aged 70 and older.

INTERVENTIONS: Six months of BCI, BCI plus pedometer (pedometer plus), or usual care.

MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome: change in daily activity counts measured by accelerometry. Secondary outcomes: Short Physical Performance Battery, health-related quality of life, depression and anxiety, falls, and National Health Service resource use.

RESULTS: One hundred seventy-nine of 204 (88%) women completed the 6-month trial. Withdrawals were highest from the BCI group (15/68) followed by the pedometer plus group (8/68) and then the control group (2/64). After adjustment for baseline differences, accelerometry counts increased significantly more in the BCI group at 3 months than in the control group (P = .002) and the pedometer plus group (P = .04). By 6 months, accelerometry counts in both intervention groups had fallen to levels that were no longer statistically significantly different from baseline. There were no significant changes in the secondary outcomes.

CONCLUSION: The BCI was effective in objectively increasing physical activity in sedentary older women. Provision of a pedometer yielded no additional benefit in physical activity, but may have motivated participants to remain in the trial. J Am Geriatr Soc 58:2099-2106, 2010.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2099-2106
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number11
Early online date4 Nov 2010
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • aged
  • female
  • humans
  • monitoring, ambulatory
  • motor activity
  • prospective studies
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • single-blind method
  • randomized controlled trial
  • pedometer
  • physical activity
  • elderly
  • public-health
  • prevention
  • interventions reliability
  • prediction
  • medicine
  • validity
  • behavior
  • walking
  • people


Dive into the research topics of 'Do pedometers increase physical activity in sedentary older women? A randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this