Pedometers provide a range of feedback about steps/taken or an estimate of energy expenditure. Unlike accelerometry and other more technical (and arguably precise) measure of PA, pedometers are not labour intensive to use and are simple to understand. Thus, they are particularly useful for use in children and across different cultural groups.. There are also established cut-offs in steps/day for adults and children and promotion of these steps/day cut-offs have been successfully used for public health education and promotion. Indeed, there is a widespread awareness of the 10,000 steps/day cut point in modern society as a consequence of various public health campaigns.
Despite this, it has been suggested that the daily step/count targets are too high, particularly for overweight, obese or sedentary young people and may therefore contribute to low programme adherence). Furthermore, it has been suggested that a “one size fits all” step count target is not needed and step goals should be personalised according to baseline values. The basic premise underlying the use of pedometers as a means to increase PA is that the immediate visual feedback of cumulative step counts increase individuals‟ awareness of how their personal behavioural choice affects their PA.
When used as part of a guided and repetitive self-monitoring feedback and goal setting process, pedometers are able to provide frequent information which can be used to adjust behavioural choices to achieve PA objectives. Meta-analyses in adults and systematic reviews in children and youth have examined the impact of pedometers on PA and health. In adults, pedometer use was found to be associated with an increase in PA of approximately 2000 steps/day and decreases in BMI and resting blood pressure.