The percentage of overweight children at or above the gender and age specific 95th percentile of body mass index (BMI), based on height and growth charts, is increasing at an alarming rate. According to Oude Luttikhuis H et al, the worldwide prevalence of overweight (including obesity) in children and young people aged 5-17 years is approximately 10%, with that of obesity alone being 2-3%.
A pedometer is a non-invasive instrument that provides instant feedback regarding activity level by measuring vertical accelerations of the body, thus capturing a variety of activities that enhance the concept of life style activity. According to Brenda L. Rooney et al, 68% of children reported at post-program that the pedometer made them more active and 49% enjoyed wearing the pedometer “very much.”
Studies have shown that wearing a pedometer is a simple, effective way for people to become more aware of their daily activity level, and increase their physical activity (Rooney, 2003). Dena et al (2007) stated that, the use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and significant decreases in body mass index and blood pressure.
According to Richardson (2008), pedometer-based walking programs result in a modest amount of weight loss. Longer programs lead to more weight loss than shorter programs. A 10,000 steps exercise prescription resulted in weight loss over 36 weeks in previously sedentary, overweight and obese adults. Adherence to the step goal had a marked effect on the outcome. (Schneider et al, 2006).
The study by Sidman et al (2004) specifically compared alternative goals in an RCT. In their intervention involving sedentary women aged 20 to 65 years, they found that although participants with low levels of baseline activity rarely reached their goal of 10 000 steps per day; they increased their steps as much as those asked to achieve a more modest goal.
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