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Effect of Using a Wheeled Walker on Physical Activity and Sedentary Time in People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Randomised Cross-Over Trial

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To determine the effects of providing a wheeled walker (WW) for use in the home and community, on daily physical activity (PA) and sedentary time (ST) in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


A randomised cross-over study in which participants with COPD characterised by a 6-min walk distance ≤ 450 m, who had recently finished pulmonary rehabilitation, completed two 5-week phases. During one phase, participants were provided a WW to use, whereas during the other phase, the WW was not available. The order of the phases was randomised. For the final week of each phase, measures of PA and ST were collected using wearable devices and health-related quality of life was measured using the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire (CRDQ). Wheeled walker use was also measured using an odometer attached to the device.


17 participants [FEV1 = median (interquartile range) 33 (25) % pred; ten males] aged mean (SD) 73 (9) years completed the study. Comparing the data collected when the WW was not available for use, the daily step count was greater (mean difference [MD] 707 steps/day (95% confidence interval [CI] 75 to 1340) and participants tended to report less dyspnoea during daily life (MD 0.5 points per item, 95% CI − 0.1 to 1.0) when WW was available. No differences were observed for ST, upright time or stepping time. The WW was used over 4504 m/week (95% CI 2746 to 6262).


These data demonstrated that, when provided to selected patients with COPD, WWs increased daily step count.

Clinical trial registration number: ACTRN12609000332224.

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Correspondence to Kylie Hill.

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Hill, K., Ng, L.W.C., Cecins, N. et al. Effect of Using a Wheeled Walker on Physical Activity and Sedentary Time in People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Randomised Cross-Over Trial. Lung 198, 213–219 (2020).

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