A team of researchers looked to carry out the largest study analyzing human movement trends. In doing so, they concluded that the United States has some of the less physically active residents. The study team also reached the conclusion that the differences between nations may also be, in part, because of “activity inequality”.
This new study on the human movement is based on data collected by the Azumio Argus activity monitor app. This anonymized health data was gathered from smartphone users in 111 countries and involves over 700,000 people worldwide.
The Least Physically Active People Determined by Lack of Activities?
The Azumio Argus app measures the daily steps count by using the smartphone’s accelerometer. This data was collected by the research team, along with other basic information. Namely, they also included the person’s gender, age, weight, and height. Then, the team analyzed and compiled the data.
This showed that, in the countries with low obesity levels, people tended to take the same amount of steps each day. In contrast, in nations with obesity problems, the daily steps count presented wider gaps, as some people walked a lot, and others not so much.
This correlation was noted to persist even after calculating the country’s average daily steps level, and comparing it to nations with similar medians. According to the team, this shows that measuring fitness levels across countries may not be enough to reliably gauge an obesity prevalence.
“If you think about some people in a country as ‘activity rich’ and others as ‘activity poor,’ the size of the gap between them is a strong indicator of obesity levels in that society,” explained Scott Delp.
He is a bioengineer at Stanford University and part of the research. The United States was noted to have some of the least physically active residents and be among the five nations with the highest activity inequality levels.
The highest such value was registered in Saudi Arabia. This was then followed, at equal values, by Canada, Australia, and Egypt, and then came the US.
In contrast, Hong Kong, China, Sweden, South Korea, and Czechia, in this order, returned the most evenly distributed levels of physical activity.
The study team does point out some of its research’s limitations, most of which are tied to the data collection method, as smartphone apps are not always necessarily accurate.
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