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Am J Health Promot. 2004 Mar-Apr;18(4):312-5.

Increasing stair use in a worksite through environmental changes.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.



This study assessed the impact on stair use of four sequential environmental interventions: (1) installing new carpet and painting the walls, (2) adding framed art-work on stair landings, (3) displaying motivational signs throughout the building, and (4) adding a stereo system and playing various types of music in the stairwell.


We conducted a longitudinal study with no comparison group to evaluate the impact of environmental changes on stairway use. The setting was the main stairwell in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Rhodes Building in Atlanta, Georgia. Proximity sensors were installed in each stairwell entry to monitor traffic. The subjects were 554 permanent CDC employees and 110 temporary employees. Changes in stairwell use by intervention were evaluated.


Both motivational signs and music significantly increased stair use by 8.9% over baseline (p < .05). The increase in sign use occurred in the first 3 months of the intervention, whereas the increase in music occurred after the first 3 months.


These data suggest that physical improvements to a stairwell, signage that encourages stair use, and music may increase physical activity among building occupants.

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