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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Apr;38(4):768-73.

Pedometer-determined physical activity among multiethnic low-income housing residents.

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  • 1Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.



We sought to characterize pedometer-determined physical activity among a predominantly racial and ethnic minority sample of adults residing in low-income housing.


Data were collected from 433 participants at baseline in a randomized colon cancer prevention intervention trial conducted within low-income housing communities. Using random effects models to control for clustering within housing sites, we examined variation in daily steps by several sociodemographic characteristics.


Participants recorded a mean of 5326 (+/- 3871 SD) daily steps over a 5-d sampling period. Significantly lower levels of pedometer-determined physical activity were found among older-aged participants (P < 0.0001), women (P = 0.02), those who were overweight and obese (P = 0.03), those reporting no weekly exercise (P = 0.04), as well as among nonworking individuals (P < 0.0001). No significant differences were found by education or income. In multivariable analyses, age, gender, body mass index, and employment status remained significantly associated with steps.


These findings suggest a high prevalence of physical inactivity among low-income housing residents. These data, derived from a well-characterized sample, provide useful estimates for the investigation of pedometers as measures of total accumulated physical activity among lower-income, racial and ethnic minority populations.

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