Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2017 Jul 20;547(7663):336-339. doi: 10.1038/nature23018. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

Large-scale physical activity data reveal worldwide activity inequality.

Author information

1
Computer Science Department, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
2
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
3
Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
4
Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
5
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
6
Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, San Francisco, California, USA.

Abstract

To be able to curb the global pandemic of physical inactivity and the associated 5.3 million deaths per year, we need to understand the basic principles that govern physical activity. However, there is a lack of large-scale measurements of physical activity patterns across free-living populations worldwide. Here we leverage the wide usage of smartphones with built-in accelerometry to measure physical activity at the global scale. We study a dataset consisting of 68 million days of physical activity for 717,527 people, giving us a window into activity in 111 countries across the globe. We find inequality in how activity is distributed within countries and that this inequality is a better predictor of obesity prevalence in the population than average activity volume. Reduced activity in females contributes to a large portion of the observed activity inequality. Aspects of the built environment, such as the walkability of a city, are associated with a smaller gender gap in activity and lower activity inequality. In more walkable cities, activity is greater throughout the day and throughout the week, across age, gender, and body mass index (BMI) groups, with the greatest increases in activity found for females. Our findings have implications for global public health policy and urban planning and highlight the role of activity inequality and the built environment in improving physical activity and health.

PMID:
28693034
PMCID:
PMC5774986
DOI:
10.1038/nature23018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center