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Providing Mothers with a Pedometer and Subsequent Effect on the Physical Activity of Their Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Children with Obesity

Journal article
Authors U. Borjesson
M. Wigren
A. Billhult
Lena Margareta Nordeman
Ronny K Gunnarsson
Published in Childhood Obesity
ISSN 2153-2168
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Language en
Keywords exercise, mothers, motivation, pediatric obesity, physical activity, preventing childhood obesity, body-mass index, global burden, Pediatrics
Subject categories Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology, Pediatrics, Endocrinology and Diabetes


Background: Obesity continues to rise, particularly among children, and is one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. Physical activity may reduce weight and increase well-being. A pedometer study from the United States, Australia, and Sweden showed that boys need to walk 15,000 steps/day, and girls 12,000 steps/day to maintain a healthy profile. Research shows children with obesity have limited physical activity and they may need parent support to increase their physical activity level. Objective: The aim of this randomized controlled study was to estimate the effect of mothers using pedometers on their children's daily number of steps. Methods: Children/adolescents aged 6-16 years were included and all of them received a pedometer and a step diary. In the intervention group, their mothers received pedometers but not so in the control group. Fifty children were randomized and 32 could be followed-up for 24 weeks. There was no difference in outcome between groups in intention to treat analysis. A complete case analysis showed that the intervention group increased their daily steps (2400, 95% confidence interval 430-4500) compared with the control group (p = 0.019). Conclusions: Involving and activating mothers may increase the children and adolescent's physical activity if implemented more successfully than was done in this study.

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