Kassavou A, Turner A, French DP. Do interventions to promote walking in groups increase physical activity? A systematic literature review with meta-analysis. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity. 2013;10(1):18. [Accessed February 11, 2013].
Thanks to Rosemary Agostini, MD, (see: Reaching people through the language of sports: shadowing Rosemary Agostini, MD, Group Health Cooperative | Ted Eytan, MD) fellow champion of all things activity and specifically of Group Health Cooperative’s Walk and Talk programs in Washington State for passing this meta-analysis on.
The meta-analysis of 19 studies with 4 572 participants showed that interventions to promote walking in groups are efficacious at increasing physical activity. The overall effect was of medium size (d = 0.52, p < 0.001) when all eligible studies were examined and slightly lower when only higher quality studies were included (d = 0.49, p < 0.001).
There are several sub-analyses, one of interest to me, are the impact of walking groups led by professionals versus lay people, and answer was “no difference in effect size,” meaning groups led by health professionals and non-health professionals were equally effective.
This is nice validation of walk with a doc , walk-with-anyone-in-a-group – remember the Iverson Mall Walkers! -> See: “Teachers follow Teachers” – Keeping up with the Iverson Mall Walkers, Temple Hills, MD | Ted Eytan, MD.
Right now, I’m usually co-leading a walk on a specific topic about once a month, I’m open to co-leading a regularly scheduled monthly walk without a specific topic, for repeat walkers, maybe in the mornings (and in Washington, DC, of course :)), since this approach works. Sound interesting? Post in the comments.