From Our 2008 Archives

Pedometers Motivate Weight Loss

Extra Pounds Come Off Step by Step, Even Without Dieting, Walking Study Shows

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 14, 2008 -- Wearing a pedometer may help you lose extra pounds, even if you don't diet, researchers report.

How many pounds? About 1 pound every 10 weeks, or 5 pounds in a year, according to a new research review.

That may not sound like a lot of weight, but every little bit counts, University of Michigan's Caroline Richardson, MD, and colleagues note. They reviewed nine studies on pedometers, walking, and weight loss.

In the studies, overweight or obese adults started pedometer-based walking programs without dieting. Pedometers are pager-sized devices, worn on the waist, that log steps taken.

The studies' details differed. In some studies, participants walked 10,000 steps per day. Participants in other studies got personalized goals, such as walking an extra 1,000 steps daily. The longest study lasted for a year; the shortest study lasted a month.

Together, the data show a "modest amount of weight loss," Richardson and colleagues write in the Annals of Family Medicine.

People might lose more weight if they also upgraded their diets, but that wasn't required in the reviewed studies, Richardson's team notes.

Another study, published in November, shows that pedometers motivate people to walk more, improving blood pressure as well as weight.

SOURCES: Richardson, C. Annals of Family Medicine, January/February 2008; vol 6: pp 69-77. WebMD Health News: "Pedometers Get You Moving." News release, American Academy of Family Physicians.

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