Study says Americans Take Fewer Steps Per Day Than People in China, U.K., Japan, and Spain

Wall Street in New York. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)
Wall Street in New York. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)

Which countries boast the best walkers? A major new study published in the journal Nature by a group of Stanford University scientists offers some clues.

The research team analyzed the number of daily steps taken by more than 700,000 people, collected via the smartphone Argus activity monitoring app. All told, they amassed 68 million days of data.

That sample size is a big deal. As researcher Scott Delp explained to the BBC, the study is about 1,000 times the size of previous research on human movement. “There have been wonderful health surveys done, but our new study provides data from more countries, many more subjects, and tracks people’s activity on an ongoing basis,” he said. “This opens the door to new ways of doing science at a much larger scale than we have been able to do before.”

Their findings? The average number of daily steps worldwide, they said, was 4,961. But that number varied widely from country to country. In top-place Hong Kong, for example, survey participants took an average of 6,880 steps a day. In Indonesia, the average was just 3,513, putting it at the bottom of the rankings.

China (where people walk an average of 6,189 steps a day) and Japan (6,010) are also near the top of the list. Spain (5,936) and the United Kingdom (5,444) are above average, too. The United States clocks in at about 4,774 steps a day, a bit below the worldwide average. Some of the most sedentary countries are Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, South Africa and India.

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SOURCE: Amanda Erickson 
The Washington Post