The effects of signage and the physical environment on stair usage

Document Type




Physical activity (PA) is a health behavior that most Americans do not participate in at recommended levels.


We sought to increase PA by use of motivational signs in selected buildings. Because physical environments are known to influence PA, the relationship of building characteristics and stair usage was also assessed. One pre- and two post-intervention observations were conducted.


The proportion of those using the stairs increased from baseline to the second data collection, (chi2 = 39.31, p < 0.01) and baseline to a final data collection (chi2 = 10.1, p < 0.01). Built environment factors, including steps to the next higher floor and the number of floors in the building were consistent predictors of stair use. With signs positioned, the visibility of the stairs while standing in front of elevators became a significant predictor of stair usage.


Motivational signs and characteristics of built environments are associated with increased stair usage.


Environmental Policy | Exercise Science | Health Policy | Marketing | Public Policy


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