A study from Stanford University confirmed that America is one of the laziest nations in the world. The new research used smartphone tracking data from 700,000 people in more than 100 countries.
Study participants were tracked for 95 days via the smartphone app Azumio Argus that counted the number of steps taken daily. Researchers found that obesity was rampant in countries that had a large activity inequality, i.e. they had a huge difference in activity levels between the fittest and the laziest.
A big difference between people who walked a lot and those that sat all day long was associated with high obesity levels. The most active area is Hong Kong whose residents walk 6,880 every day. The laziest country is Indonesia whose residents barely walk 3,513 steps every day.
Americans take 4,774 steps every day on average, but the country has a huge activity inequality which ranks it fourth from the bottom.
Men More Active than Women
The study also confirmed past research that found that men tend to walk more than women. As activity levels decrease at a population level, women are more likely to become obese.
Co-author Jure Leskovec noted that when activity inequality tends to skyrocket in a country, women tend to be lazier than men, and, therefore, obesity affects women more than men.
For instance, in countries with considerable activity inequality such as the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, women tend to move a lot less than men. In countries where there is a low inequality and low obesity like Japan, men and women tend to exercise equally.
Study authors believe that if authorities create an environment that is enjoyable for physical activity, activity inequality could be greatly reduced. One researcher noted that if people in an area have to cross a major highway to get someplace, they would likely take the car.
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