A Systematic Review of Interventions to Increase Stair Use

Published:October 05, 2016DOI:


      Stair climbing is an accessible activity that can be incorporated into one’s daily lifestyle to increase physical activity levels and provide health benefits. This review summarizes the effectiveness of stair interventions and explores key differences that may influence intervention effectiveness.

      Evidence acquisition

      Interventions to increase stair use published from January 1990 to July 2015 were identified in PubMed, Sport Discus, Web of Science, Environment Complete, CINAHL, Trial Register of Promoting Health Interventions, Embase, Scopus, and PsycINFO. Eligibility criteria included original studies, published in peer-reviewed journals, targeting adult samples, and clearly describing intervention design and results. Studies were also required to measure the use of stairs compared with an elevator, escalator, or moving stairway at baseline and during at least one timepoint when the intervention was in effect. Studies were required to provide data to determine if the intervention resulted in significant changes in stair use/climbing.

      Evidence synthesis

      The search results yielded 2,136 articles in total; 54 articles met the criteria, which resulted in a final sample of 67 studies included in the analyses. Interventions settings included public sites (75%), worksites (21%), or a combination of both (4%). For Phase 1 results, 72% of studies reported significant improvements in stair use (n=10 of 14) and stair climbing (n=38 of 53).


      Evidence from the review demonstrates support for the effectiveness of interventions to increase stair use and stair climbing. Although evidence supports the effectiveness of stair interventions in public settings, less support is provided for worksites.
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