A British experiment suggests sometimes the only thing needed to promote a healthful activity is a sign.
Researchers went to a suburban London shopping mall and counted the number of people using the stairs next to an escalator. Then they put up colorful signs telling shoppers to take the stairs to promote heart health. It worked.
Over six weeks, use of the stairway more than doubled, from about 4 percent of shoppers to nearly 10 percent.
Past studies have produced a similar result.
The findings were recently published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
With fewer daily opportunities for physical activity in modern society, public health officials are increasingly focusing on stairs at schools, workplaces, and even the mall.