Smartphone Data Reveals The World's Most And Least Active Countries

Amazing what you can do with the accelerometer on a smartphone. IR Stone/Shutterstock

Your smartphone is being tracked by scientists, and they know how lazy you are. Thanks to the somewhat sneaky research by Stanford University, we now know which countries feature people that walk the most and those that walk the least.

The team used the fitness/activity tracker app Argus, which is used all over the planet. Tracking a combined total of 68 million days of physical activity for almost 720,000 anonymized people across 46 key countries for three months, they essentially tallied up the average number of footsteps people take every single day.

Those with higher numbers were clearly more active, while those on the other end of the scale were far less active. It’s a simple and elegant way to get a hold on activity levels, and with that, here are the most active nations on Earth, as ranked by average daily steps.

Most Active:

1 – China [6,289]

2 – Japan [6,010]

3 – Spain [5,936]

4 – UK [5,444]

5 – USA [4,774]

Least Active:

1 – Indonesia [3,513]

2 – Saudi Arabia [3,807]

3 – Malaysia [3,963]

4 – Philippines [4,008]

5 – South Africa [4,105]

The map of the average daily steps taken by the residents of various countries around the world. Stanford University

Unsurprisingly, if a city is more walkable and more pedestrianized, activity levels are higher than in other cities where the opposite is true.

“In cities that are more walkable everyone tends to take more daily steps, whether male or female, young or old, healthy weight or obese,” co-author Jennifer Hicks, director of data science for the Mobilize Center at Stanford, said in a statement.

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