Effects of a culturally sensitive sign on the use of stairs in African American commuters

Ross E. Andersen, Shawn C. Franckowiak, Kim B. Zuzak, Elise S. Cummings, Susan J. Bartlett, Carlos J. Crespo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine the effectiveness of a culturally sensitive sign to encourage stair use among African American commuters. Methods: 16 035 commuters were observed in their using either stairs or an adjacent escalator in a subway station. After baseline observation, a culturally sensitive sign to promote stair use was displayed beside the escalator/stairs. Demographic information and use of escalators/stairs were recorded. Results: Stair use increased from 15.8% to 21.5% with the sign. Caucasian commuters used the stairs 23.1% of the time at baseline, and increased to 28.3% with the sign. Among African Americans, stair use increased from 10.3% to 16.4% with the sign. African American women showed the greatest increases in stair use. Stair use remained elevated the week after the sign was removed in all commuters. Among African Americans, stair use returned to baseline within three weeks. Stair use increased significantly among both overweight and non-overweight Caucasians and African Americans. Conclusion: Culturally sensitive interventions can promote physical activity among African Americans in an urban setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
JournalSozial- und Praventivmedizin
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Activity strategies
  • African Americans
  • Culturally sensitive intervention
  • Physical activity
  • Stair use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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