Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Exercise Science

Major Professor

Dixie L. Thompson

Committee Members

Edward T. Howley, David R. Bassett, Jr.


The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between pedometer-determined physical activity measured in steps per day and body composition in healthy, postmenopausal women. Ninety-three women (60.9 ± 5.76 years) participated in the study. Subjects made one visit to the laboratory for height, weight, percent body fat, and waist and hip circumference measurements. Subsequently, each subject wore a pedometer for 14 consecutive days to assess average daily steps. Subjects recorded each day’s accumulated step count and reset the pedometer the next morning. Pearson product moment correlations were used to examine the relationship between average steps per day and body composition variables. Partial correlation coefficients were calculated to determine if age influenced the relationship between steps and body composition variables. Subjects were placed in groups to reflect different levels of physical activity: sedentary (< 5,500 steps.d-1), low active (5,500-7,500 steps.d-1), and active (> 7,500 steps.d-1). ANOVA was used to determine whether body composition variables varied across activity groups. A P < 0.05 was considered significant for all tests. A significant correlation was found between average steps per day and percent body fat (r = -0.368 P < 0.0001); body mass index (BMI) (r = -0.422, P < 0.0001); waist circumference (r = -0.487, P < 0.0001); hip circumference (r = -0.435, P < 0.0001); and waist-to-hip ratio (r = -0.487, P = 0.004). These relationships remained significant after controlling for the influence of age. There was a significant difference in body composition variables among activity groups, with higher values found in the less active groups.

In conclusion, this is the first study to investigate the relationship between average steps taken per day and body composition variables specifically in postmenopausal women. Although the cross-sectional nature of the study does not allow causal relationships to be determined, women who walked greater than 7,500 steps per day had more favorable body composition values. Additionally, the average BMI of the women in the active category (accumulating > 7,500 steps per day) was in the recommended range.

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