CHICAGO -- Pedometers help people increase their physical activity, provided that they set a goal and log their steps, according to a recent analysis.

Those who do log their steps in a diary lower their blood pressure and lose a few pounds, says Dr. Dena Bravata of Stanford University, one of the authors of the analysis.

Bravata and her colleagues analyzed 20 studies from the United States and Canada as well as six studies from Japan, Europe and Australia. The average age of participants was 49, and 85 percent of them were female because some studies targeted women. There were more than 2,700 volunteers.

Pedometer users increased their physical activity by about 27 percent, research showed. The users walked about one mile more a day than they did before they started counting and logging their steps. Those who did not keep a step diary or have a step goal failed to increase their physical activity, Bravata says.