Improving Physical Activity and Body Composition in a Medical Workplace Using Brief Goal Setting

Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2019 Oct 16;3(4):495-505. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2019.07.002. eCollection 2019 Dec.


Objective: To evaluate the use of a wearable activity tracker and brief feedback in the workplace to motivate employees to improve activity.

Patients and methods: A total of 135 adult participants were randomized to 1 of 3 groups: control group (blinded to their step activity), intervention group (received counseling based on their step count), or no step-tracking device group. Participants were recruited from June 27, 2016, through February 21, 2018.

Results: Most of the 135 participants were women (84%), with a mean ± SD age of 42.6±10.1 years. Most participants (96%) completed 11 of the 12 weeks of step counts. Comparing treatment groups at week 12 (end of treatment), the intervention group (vs the control group) had significantly more steps (644.8; P<.01), had an 11.1% increase in step count from baseline (P<.01), was more likely to achieve goal (odds ratio=1.73; P=.02), increased distance traveled per week (0.46 miles; P<.01) and calories burned (90.6; P<.01), and had a decrease in some bioelectrical impedance measurements over time, including a greater loss in body fat mass (-0.90 kg; P=.01), percentage fat (-0.96; P<.01), and visceral fat level (-0.60; P<.01). Finally, the intervention group indicated significantly greater satisfaction with their assigned randomization (89% vs 77%; P=.01) and greater confidence in the effectiveness of their activity tracker (P<.01).

Conclusion: Brief counseling accompanied by use of a step-counting device can improve workplace activity, which, in turn, can increase steps and decrease body fat, including visceral fat.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT02794727.

Keywords: BIA, bioelectrical impedance analysis; PSS, Perceived Stress Scale; SF-36, 36-Item Short Form Health Survey; SMF, segmental multifrequency; VFA, visceral fat area.

Associated data