by Lyndall Thomas and Mark Williams
Issue addressed: This paper describes the implementation and outcomes of a pedometer-based workplace physical activity (PA) promotion program conducted with volunteer staff from the former Department of Human Services in South Australia.
Methods: Staff were supported to increase activity through wearing a pedometer and encouraged to aim for 10,000 steps per day to achieve the National Physical Activity Guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity on most (preferably all) days. A train-the-trainer model was used to deliver the program consistently to large numbers of staff in CBD, metropolitan and rural settings.
Results: More than 30% (1,195) of the staff, including senior management, participated with approximately 70% increasing their level of walking over a four-week period. Greatest increases were observed in those people who started at the lowest daily step counts. Follow-up evaluation showed that those people who had increased their walking through the program were more likely to maintain that level of walking over the following months. The majority of participants included other family members in their walking.
Conclusion: Simple programs to promote PA that incorporate usual daily activity can be popular and effective at improving understanding of the importance of PA and increasing activity. The benefits to the participants, and its impact on a wider sphere of influence, made this relatively simple program worthwhile.
Key words: Workplace, physical activity, pedometers, health promotion.
Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2006;17:97-102