Published: Thu, July 13, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Saudi Arabia ranked as world's least active country in new study

Saudi Arabia ranked as world's least active country in new study

Indonesians meanwhile took the least steps of just 3,513 in a day. Americans averaged 4,774 steps per day.

Average number of steps that Hong Kong people take - 6,880 per day.

Jure Leskovec, also part of the research team, said: "When activity inequality is greatest, women's activity is reduced much more dramatically than men's activity, and thus the negative connections to obesity can affect women more greatly".

The researchers, who are sharing their findings on an activity inequality website, hope their work will help improve public health campaigns against obesity and support policies to make cities more "walkable".

That said, this research does at least tell us a lot that we didn't know about varying contrasts of physical activity in a lot of countries - at least among those who use smartphone activity apps, that is (but hey, that's a lot of us) - and could help steer future health research to addressing the issue of activity inequality.

Gender was also a key factor.

In this case, the researchers took account of the variation in activity in terms of the mean number of steps walked by people daily for an average of 95 days using the Argus activity monitoring app. In fact, the study group form the five countries with the greatest activity inequality were nearly 200 percent more likely to be obese than those from the five countries with the lowest activity inequality. But they also noticed that in countries with the greatest activity inequality, women's inactivity was much more pronounced.

Even in the fitness-conscious Bay Area, there are big differences in who walks, according to a pioneering study by Stanford University researchers, based on smart phone data.

Most smartphones available in the market nowadays have a built-in accelerometer that can record steps.

The findings leaned most heavily on data from the 46 countries for which Azumio provided at least a thousand anonymized users, enough to form the basis for statistically valid inferences. One of the most intriguing finds the Stanford researchers made was that, in countries with little obesity, people mostly walked a similar amount per day, but in countries with big gaps between people who walked a lot and those who walked very little, obesity was much higher. Zeroing in on the city level in the United States, there was a correlation between the walkability of a city and its activity equality - and that correlation was more pronounced among women. Then the team linked this walkability score to smartphone activity data.

The researchers are expecting that the health study results could be used to design towns and cities that promote greater physical activity.

Interestingly, the researchers found that a country's average step count wasn't the best predictor of that nation's obesity rate. "In cities that are more walkable everyone tends to take more daily steps, whether male or female, young or old, healthy weight or obese". "Data science and modeling can be immensely powerful tools".

Delp added that the result of the new #Health Study opens the door to new ways of doing science at a much larger scale than ever before.

"The study is 1,000 times larger than any previous study on human movement", Scott L. Delp, head researcher and the director of the Mobilize Center at Stanford University, said in a statement.

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