World's laziest country revealed and the United Kingdom is looking pretty active

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Indonesians meanwhile took the least steps of just 3,513 in a day.

The average number of steps in a country appears to be less important for obesity levels, for example. Step counts were highest in Hong Kong, where people took an average of 6,880 steps a day, followed by China, with 6,189 steps, and Ukraine, with 6,107 steps.

"When activity inequality is greatest, women's activity is reduced much more dramatically than men's activity", says one of the team, computer scientist Jure Leskovec, "and thus the negative connections to obesity can affect women more greatly".

The study used step counters, or accelerometers, on smartphones to assess the walking habits of people in more than 111 countries.

The researchers have also concluded that such lack of inequality and such vast differences in "activity inequality" could be a major reason behind diseases like obesity that have gripped America.

In countries that had low rates of obesity, people mostly walked a similar amount per day. Results show that five countries with the greatest activity inequality were nearly 200% more likely to be obese than the bottom five.

Globally, the US ranks fourth from the bottom in so-called "activity inequality", meaning there's a big difference in miles logged by avid walkers and couch potatoes, the Stanford team concluded. But there is one more particular area where it features among the top most countries and you would be surprised to hear that.

The United States was amongst countries with greatest activity inequality.

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Smartphones are equipped with tiny sensors called accelerometers that can automatically record stepping motions.

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.

When the Stanford-Azumio partnership launched back in late 2015, Azumio CEO Bojan Bostjancic told MobiHealthNews that activity data was just one small part of the data that was being collected. For instance, whilst activity levels averaged the same in Mexico and the United States, the USA had a much wider range of activity, which the researchers believe explains the higher obesity levels in the US.

Health experts suggest regular physical activity as the best way to stay healthy.

The main takeaway from the study was that it wasn't the average activity of a country that correlated with its obesity rates, but the range of activity levels contained in that average.

Team member Jennifer Hicks, director of data science for the Mobilize Center at Stanford, said the results make clear that city design has health impacts: The cities that were most conducive to walking had the lowest activity inequality.

Researcher Scott Delp, a bioengineering professor, claimed that the study is 1,000 times larger than any other study previously conducted on human movement.

"This opens the door to new ways of doing science at a much larger scale than we have been able to do before".

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