Physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of non-communicable diseases. A recent Japanese national health and nutrition survey has demonstrated that only 12.9% of young women exercise regularly despite these health benefits. Moreover, sufficient evidence exists that a nudge can encourage stair climbing. However, studies examining the effects of nudge message content are lacking. To address this research gap, this study investigated the effectiveness of the nudge message content for young women for encouraging the use of stairs instead of escalators at a train station.
We employed a quasi-experimental design and conducted a count of individuals who used stairs/escalators over a span of 36 days. A 3-week baseline period was followed by two 3-week periods with motivational message interventions. The first 3-week intervention used a nudge that emphasized a healthy lifestyle, whereas that for the second 3-week intervention highlighted an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Chi-square tests were conducted to compare the use of stairs versus escalators at the baseline and between the two 3-week interventions with nudge messages for healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles.
The authors noted 34,696 observations of individuals using stairs or adjacent escalators within the study period. The results indicate that the use of stairs significantly increased among young women only during the intervention period with environmentally friendly nudge messages, which were considered to be more effective among young women than the healthy lifestyle nudge messages. Accordingly, we suggest that attention toward a content that can motivate the target population should be increased in formulating nudge messages aimed at health promotion.