According to a study in the October issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, American adults walk less than adults in other countries with lower obesity rates.

Granted, the study only compared obesity rates and walking (measured with pedometers) in four countries—the U.S., Australia, Japan, and Switzerland. The so-called “walking leader” of the four countries, Australia also had the lowest obesity rate, coming in at 16%, less than half of America’s 34% obesity rate.

Says lead author David Bassett, “It did surprise me how sedentary U.S. adults are. The additional walking seems to have an enormous public health benefit for those [other] countries.”

In case you’re wondering (I was), according to Bassett’s study:

  • fewer than 5,000 steps a day is considered sedentary;
  • 5,000 to 7,499, low active;
  • 7,500 to 9,999, somewhat active; and
  • 10,000 or more active
  • 2,000 steps equals about one mile

American participants in the study walked significantly less than participants from the other three countries, with U.S. women walking an average of 4,912 steps and men walking 5,340. That’s pretty pathetic when you compare it to Japan’s average of 7,168 (no wonder their obesity rate’s only 3%) and Switzerland’s mean 9,650 (8% obesity rate). Australians walked, on average, 9,695 steps per day.

You can read more here.

Did you know you can turn your iPhone into a pedometer? Here’s a list of top-rated pedometer applications if you’re interested.

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