A map of the each country's activity level, or lack thereof. (Althoff, et. al.)
A map of the each country's activity level, or lack thereof. (Althoff, et. al.)
By Matthew Reitman / July 14, 2017 5:00 am

Researchers with a tremendous work ethic used smartphone data on a global scale to measure the laziness of a country’s populace.

Data gathered from smartphone accelerometers was used to generate a country-by-country map of a population’s activity levels, but it also reveals surprising trends that could be useful in the fight against obesity.

Most smartphones today contain accelerometer that’s useful when playing games, orienting screen alignment, or tracking daily step counts. The latter is what Stanford University researchers relied on for their study of 700,000 people in 111 countries around the world, according to BBC.

After analyzing 68 million days worth of minute-by-minute information, scientists calculated the average number of steps taken around the world each day is 4,961. Hong Kong is the most active place on the planet with an average of 6,880 per day, while Indonesia took a back seat with just 3,513 daily steps.

The United States is just shy of the global average with 4,774 steps per day, but scientists say there’s more to the story. Countries, like the U.S., that have a large gap between its most active and least active people are more likely to have higher obesity levels. The smaller the gap, or what they called “activity inequality,” the less obese the population tends to be.

Researchers found that disparity in activity levels, left, was a better indicator of obesity than a country’s step count.(Althoff, et. al.)