Many people are logging daily step counts—often in the hope of meeting weight loss goals—and the proliferation of activity trackers and apps makes it easier to do this. New research shows that, while increasing steps to 4,400 steps per day enhances longevity (and walking more does have numerous health benefits), adding steps without increasing intensity or changing other lifestyle habits may not lead to weight loss.

Brigham Young University researchers in Provo, Utah, tracked step counts and weight in 92 female freshman college students across 24 weeks. Participants were randomly assigned to take 10,000, 12,500 or 15,000 daily steps, which were monitored biweekly. Investigators gathered data on body weight and body composition at the outset and after 24 weeks. Data analysis showed no differences in weight gain or fat gain among the three groups.

Study authors concluded that walking more than 10,000 steps per day does not prevent weight or fat gain during the first year of college. More research is warranted to examine what changes in exercise intensity or diet are needed to meet weight goals.

Find the study in the Journal of Obesity (2019; doi:10.1155/2019/4036825).