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KNOXVILLE – Choosing the right pedometer is important in designing an effective walking program, but pedometer accuracy can vary, two University of Tennessee researchers report in the journal -Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.-

Dr. David Bassett and Patrick Schneider of the exercise science department tested 13 electronic pedometers. Ten men and ten women each wore two pedometers for a 24-hour period. The control, or criterion, pedometer was worn on the left side of the body, and the comparison pedometer on the right.

The total number of steps counted each day was recorded for each of the pedometers. Four of the models tested did not differ significantly from the criterion pedometer, but other models underestimated the number of steps taken by 25% and others overestimated by 45%.

The criterion pedometer was the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200. Compared with the criterion pedometer, the Kenz Lifecorder, New Lifestyles NL-200, Sportline 330 (SL 330) and the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-701 (YX701) yielded the most accurate record of steps taken.

-When you-re using a pedometer to meet a daily step goal, you do need to be aware that there are real differences among the various brands,- Bassett said. -The Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200, our criterion model, consistently shows up as accurate in laboratory and field tests.-