Smartphone-Recorded Steps Affect Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Working-Age Adults

Positive changes in cardiovascular risk disease factors are associated with smartphone-recorded steps over time among Japanese adults with differences noted between sexes, according to study findings published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers in Japan sought to evaluate the association between long-term steps recorded by smartphone and changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors over 2 years.

They conducted a large cohort study that included 15,708 adult Japanese participants (44.1±9.5 years; 23.5% women) with data from 2 national databases and a commercial app database. Of these patients, at baseline 72.8% drank alcohol, 17.7% were current smokers, BMI was 22.8 (IQR, 20.8-24.9), and hemoglobin A1c was 5.4% (IQR, 5.2-5.6%).

The researchers found that differences in weight had a near linear association with 2-year steps in men (estimate per 1000 steps/day: -0.33±0.029 kg), and was inversely related only above 5000 steps/d in women (-0.18±0.054 kg) after potential confounder adjustment. Researchers noted an inverse association with systolic blood pressure in men (-0.34±0.097 mm Hg) but not in women.

The researchers observed that change in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides (0.61±0.068 and -3.4±0.61 mg/dL in men; 0.64±0.17 and -2.3±0.67 mg/dL in women) was associated with greater steps. They noted changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were observed in men only (-0.59±0.17 mg/dL). They found a significant negative association with hemoglobin A1c was observed in women only (-0.012±0.0043%).

Study limitations include underestimated true step counts when phones are not carried, a significant number of participants without follow-up health check-ups, and possible selection bias.

 “In a large cohort of Japanese adults, smartphone-recorded steps over years were associated with beneficial changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors, with some differences between men and women in the associational patterns,” the study authors wrote.  “As such, smartphone-recorded daily steps may be one clinically useful tool to help gauge CVD [cardiovascular disease] health.”

Disclosure: This research was supported by DeSC Healthcare, Inc.

Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Hamaya R, Mori M, Miyake K, Lee IM. Association of smartphone-recorded steps over years and change in cardiovascular risk factors among working-age adults. J Am Heart Assoc. Published online July 19, 2022. doi:10.1161/JAHA.121.025689

This article originally appeared on The Cardiology Advisor