Promoting workplace stair climbing: Sometimes, not interfering is the best
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionArchives of Public Health. 2017, 75 (2), 10.1186/s13690-016-0170-8
Background Stair climbing is a vigorous activity and can lead to several health benefits. Studies seeking to increase stair climbing in various public locations have shown positive effects, while results from similar studies conducted in the workplace are inconclusive. This study examined stair climbing in the workplace, and monitored effects from a single- and a combined intervention. Interventions were inspired by nudging, the libertarian method of influencing behavior. Methods By quasi-experimental design, stair- and elevator traffic in two office buildings was monitored preceding-, during- and following interventions with stair leading footprints alone, and combined with stair-riser banners. Chi square tests were applied to determine differences between baseline and the subsequent periods. Web-based questionnaires were distributed after follow-up period. Results Elevators and stairs were used 45 237 times, of which 89.6% was stair use. Intervention site stair climbing at baseline (79.0%) was significantly reduced with footprints (-5.1%, p < 0.001), and footprints with stair-riser banners (-5.7%, p < 0.001) while baseline stair climbing at the control site (94.2%) remained stable (p > 0.027). Conclusions Stair climbing was significantly reduced during the intervention periods. Use of stair leading footprints alone, or combined with stair-riser banners in an attempt to influence stair climbing may be ineffective, or cause a negative reaction, when applied in a workplace with a pre-existing high amount of stair climbing.