Pedometer-measured physical activity among emergency physicians during shifts



      Tools to measure physical activity, such as pedometers, have become more prevalent and attracted popular interest in recent years. Despite this trend, research has not yet quantified pedometer-measured physical activity among Emergency Physicians. This study aims to provide the first characterization of physical activity among on-duty Emergency Physicians in terms of step count.


      Emergency Physicians wore Empatica E4 research-grade accelerometers while performing routine clinical care in the Emergency Department. A publicly available algorithm was used to estimate the number of steps taken.


      Fifty-one Emergency Physicians, including thirty-four residents and seventeen attending physicians, contributed over 1500 h of accelerometer data. On average, this cohort took 577 steps per hour (SD: 72.6), totaling 4950 steps per recorded shift (SD: 737.8), which is approximately 2.6 miles (SD: 0.31). Residents walked more than attending physicians (595.9 steps per hour (SD: 99.7) vs 563.0 steps per hour (SD: 89.0), respectively; p = 0.02).


      The average emergency physician in this cohort walked roughly half the daily recommended number of steps during their recorded shift. Residents walk significantly more than attending physicians.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to The American Journal of Emergency Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Manley A.F.
        Physical activity and health: a report of the surgeon general.
        DIANE Publishing, 1996
        • Hales C.M.
        • Fryar C.D.
        • Carroll M.D.
        • Freedman D.S.
        • Ogden C.L.
        Trends in obesity and severe obesity prevalence in US youth and adults by sex and age, 2007-2008 to 2015-2016.
        JAMA. 2018; 319: 1723-1725
        • Preston S.H.
        • Vierboom Y.C.
        • Stokes A.
        The role of obesity in exceptionally slow US mortality improvement.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2018; 115: 957-961
        • Bhupathiraju Shilpa N.
        • Hu Frank B.
        Epidemiology of obesity and diabetes and their cardiovascular complications.
        Circ Res. 2016; 118: 1723-1735
        • Hruby A.
        • Manson J.E.
        • Qi L.
        • Malik V.S.
        • Rimm E.B.
        • Sun Q.
        • et al.
        Determinants and consequences of obesity.
        Am J Public Health. 2016; 106: 1656-1662
        • Gregg E.W.
        • Gerzoff R.B.
        • Caspersen C.J.
        • Williamson D.F.
        • Narayan K.M.V.
        Relationship of walking to mortality among US adults with diabetes.
        Arch Intern Med. 2003; 163: 1440-1447
        • Noda H.
        • Iso H.
        • Toyoshima H.
        • Date C.
        • Yamamoto A.
        • Kikuchi S.
        • et al.
        Walking and sports participation and mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke.
        J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005; 46: 1761-1767
        • Galper D.I.
        • Trivedi M.H.
        • Barlow C.E.
        • Dunn A.L.
        • Kampert J.B.
        Inverse association between physical inactivity and mental health in men and women.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006; 38: 173-178
        • Kelly P.
        • Kahlmeier S.
        • Götschi T.
        • Orsini N.
        • Richards J.
        • Roberts N.
        • et al.
        Systematic review and meta-analysis of reduction in all-cause mortality from walking and cycling and shape of dose response relationship.
        Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014; 11132
        • Choi B.C.K.
        • Pak A.W.P.
        • Choi J.C.L.
        Daily step goal of 10,000 steps: a literature review.
        Clin Invest Med. 2007; : E146-E151
        • Kang M.
        • Marshall S.J.
        • Barreira T.V.
        • Lee J.O.
        Effect of pedometer-based physical activity interventions: a meta-analysis.
        Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, UK2009
        • Tudor-Locke C.
        • Craig C.L.
        • Brown W.J.
        • Clemes S.A.
        • De Cocker K.
        • Giles-Corti B.
        • et al.
        How many steps/day are enough? For adults.
        Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011; 8: 79
        • Bravata D.M.
        • Smith-Spangler C.
        • Sundaram V.
        • Gienger A.L.
        • Lin N.
        • Lewis R.
        • et al.
        Using pedometers to increase physical activity and improve health: a systematic review.
        JAMA. 2007; 298: 2296-2304
        • Richardson C.R.
        • Newton T.L.
        • Abraham J.J.
        • Sen A.
        • Jimbo M.
        • Swartz A.M.
        A meta-analysis of pedometer-based walking interventions and weight loss.
        Ann Fam Med. 2008; 6: 69-77
        • Stovitz S.D.
        • VanWormer J.J.
        • Center B.A.
        • Bremer K.L.
        Pedometers as a means to increase ambulatory activity for patients seen at a family medicine clinic.
        J Am Board Fam Med. 2005; 18: 335-343
        • Freak-Poli R.
        • Wolfe R.
        • Backholer K.
        • de Courten M.
        • Peeters A.
        Impact of a pedometer-based workplace health program on cardiovascular and diabetes risk profile.
        Prev Med. 2011; 53: 162-171
        • Trinh L.
        • Wilson R.
        • Williams H.M.
        • Sum A.J.
        • Naylor P.-J.
        Physicians promoting physical activity using pedometers and community partnerships: a real world trial.
        Br J Sports Med. 2012; 46: 284-290
        • Abd T.T.
        • Kobylivker A.
        • Perry A.
        • Iii J.M.
        • Sperling L.
        Work-related physical activity among cardiovascular specialists.
        Clin Cardiol. 2012; 35: 78-82
        • Atkinson J.
        • Goody R.B.
        • Walker C.
        Walking at work: a pedometer study assessing the activity levels of doctors.
        Scott Med J. 2005; 50: 73-74
        • Cuthill J.A.
        • Fitzpatrick K.
        • Glen J.
        Anaesthesia—a sedentary specialty? Accelerometer assessment of the activity level of anaesthetists while at work.
        Anaesthesia. 2008; 63: 279-283
        • Mathworks
        Count steps with acceleration data from your apple or android mobile device.
        StepCounter.m, 2013
        • Corder K.
        • Brage S.
        • Ekelund U.
        Accelerometers and pedometers: methodology and clinical application.
        Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007; 10: 597-603
        • Hoeger W.W.K.
        • Bond L.
        • Ransdell L.
        • Shimon J.M.
        • Merugu S.
        One-mile step count at walking and running speeds.
        ACSMs Health Fit J. 2008; 12: 14-19
        • Bohannon R.W.
        Comfortable and maximum walking speed of adults aged 20—79 years: reference values and determinants.
        Age Ageing. 1997; 26: 15-19
        • Spees C.K.
        • Scott J.M.
        • Taylor C.A.
        Differences in the amounts and types of physical activity by obesity status in US adults.
        Am J Health Behav. 2012; 36: 56-65
        • Schnohr P.
        • Scharling H.
        • Jensen J.S.
        Intensity versus duration of walking, impact on mortality: the Copenhagen City Heart Study.
        Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2007; 14: 72-78
        • Bassett D.R.
        • Wyatt H.R.
        • Thompson H.
        • Peters J.C.
        • Hill J.O.
        Pedometer-measured physical activity and health behaviors in United States adults.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010; 42: 1819-1825
        • Thomas L.
        • Williams M.
        Promoting physical activity in the workplace: using pedometers to increase daily activity levels.
        Health Promot J Austr. 2006; 17: 97-102
        • Chan C.B.
        • Ryan D.A.J.
        • Tudor-Locke C.
        Health benefits of a pedometer-based physical activity intervention in sedentary workers.
        Prev Med. 2004; 39: 1215-1222