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Percept Mot Skills. 2000 Aug;91(1):55-61.

Comparison of health promotion and deterrent prompts in increasing use of stairs over escalators.

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  • 1Department of Physical Education, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston 61920, USA. cfwdr@eiu.edu


This study compared the effectiveness of two point-of-decision prompts within the same environmental setting. The effects of a health promotion sign were compared with activity change resulting from a deterrent sign. Individuals were observed using the upward stairs or upward escalator at a midwest regional air port during a 5-week period in which intervention signs were compared with no sign conditions on activity choice. During Weeks 1, 3, and 5 behaviors were assessed without any prompts. During Week 2, a health promotion sign was posted at the behavioral choice point which read "Keep your heart healthy, use the stairs." During Week 4, a deterrent sign which read "Please limit escalator use to staff and those unable to use the stairs" was posted at the same behavioral choice point. Younger (<40) women (14.8%) and men (10.8%) used the stairs more frequently, followed by older women (9.3%) and older men (6.9%). A hierarchical log linear analysis showed that stair use increased during both interventions, which was significantly moderated by age. Point-of-decision prompts appear to be effective environmental interventions for promoting increases in physical activity.

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