Stair walking is obesity-associated: Rate of ascending and descending the stairs at an underground train station in Munich, Germany

Document Type : Short Communication


Department Food and Nutrition, Consumer Centre of the German Federal State of Bavaria, Munich, Germany.


Daily stair walking is a time-efficient everyday activity that improves cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, body composition, blood pressure, lipid profiles, and is associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality. However, more than one in three adult Europeans is physically inactive in their everyday life and the exemplary current rate of stair walking in Germany is not known. Therefore, 2,521 people were monitored climbing the stairs or using a parallel escalator over a period of one week in an underground train station in Munich, Germany (January 3rd to 9th, 2022). 53.4% were women and 46.6% men, 30.7% (N = 774) were classified as obviously overweight-obese. 9.1% (N = 229) of all people counted used the ascending stairs - these were slightly more male than female and a total of 19 persons who were obviously overweight-obese. On two observation days, the pedestrians' mode of descent (stairs/escalator) was also recorded on 457 people, of whom 28% (N = 128) were categorized as obviously overweight-obese. With an equal gender distribution, 27.8% (N = 127) of the people counted used the descending stairs, including 22 obviously overweight-obese people. A very small proportion of adults used the stairs in our exemplary sample (every eleventh chose the stairs for ascent and every fourth chose the stairs for descent), which confirms the high development potential for promoting short repetitive bouts of non-exercise physical activity in everyday life - also for overweight-obese people. Internalize the mantra: Stairs are good friends and not enemies!

What is already known on this subject?

Physical inactivity is widespread, so spontaneous everyday habits such as stair walking have an additional health significance.


What this study adds?

The current rate of ascending and descending stair walking is still very low and confirms the high development potential for promoting short repetitive bouts of non-exercise physical activity in everyday life.


Main Subjects

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Volume 2, Issue 1
March 2022
Pages 28-33
  • Receive Date: 14 February 2022
  • Revise Date: 14 March 2022
  • Accept Date: 20 March 2022
  • First Publish Date: 20 March 2022