Activity monitor intervention to promote physical activity of physicians-in-training: randomized controlled trial.

TitleActivity monitor intervention to promote physical activity of physicians-in-training: randomized controlled trial.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsThorndike AN, Mills S, Sonnenberg L, Palakshappa D, Gao T, Pau CT, Regan S
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2014
KeywordsAdult, Blood Pressure, Body Composition, Cholesterol, Competitive Behavior, Counseling, Feedback, Sensory, Female, Health Promotion, Humans, Internship and Residency, Male, Monitoring, Physiologic, Motor Activity, Physicians, Young Adult

BACKGROUND: Physicians are expected to serve as role models for healthy lifestyles, but long work hours reduce time for healthy behaviors. A hospital-based physical activity intervention could improve physician health and increase counseling about exercise.

METHODS: We conducted a two-phase intervention among 104 medical residents at a large hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Phase 1 was a 6-week randomized controlled trial comparing daily steps of residents assigned to an activity monitor displaying feedback about steps and energy consumed (intervention) or to a blinded monitor (control). Phase 2 immediately followed and was a 6-week non-randomized team steps competition in which all participants wore monitors with feedback. Phase 1 outcomes were: 1) median steps/day and 2) proportion of days activity monitor worn. The Phase 2 outcome was mean steps/day on days monitor worn (≥500 steps/day). Physiologic measurements were collected at baseline and study end. Median steps/day were compared using Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. Mean steps were compared using repeated measures regression analyses.

RESULTS: In Phase 1, intervention and control groups had similar activity (6369 vs. 6063 steps/day, p = 0.16) and compliance with wearing the monitor (77% vs. 77% of days, p = 0.73). In Phase 2 (team competition), residents recorded more steps/day than during Phase 1 (CONTROL: 7,971 vs. 7,567, p = 0.002;

INTERVENTION: 7,832 vs. 7,739, p = 0.13). Mean compliance with wearing the activity monitor decreased for both groups during Phase 2 compared to Phase 1 (60% vs. 77%, p<0.001). Mean systolic blood pressure decreased (p = 0.004) and HDL cholesterol increased (p<0.001) among all participants at end of study compared to baseline.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the activity monitor intervention did not have a major impact on activity or health, the high participation rates of busy residents and modest changes in steps, blood pressure, and HDL suggest that more intensive hospital-based wellness programs have potential for promoting healthier lifestyles among physicians.


Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID24950218
PubMed Central IDPMC4065028
Grant ListK23 HL093221 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
K23 HL93221 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States