Worldwide activity inequality for women!

To help curb the global pandemic of physical inactivity and the resulting 5.3 million deaths per annum, it is necessary to understand the basic principles that govern physical activity.

There is a lack of large-scale measurements of physical activity patterns across free-living populations worldwide By leveraging the wide usage of smartphones with built-in accelerometry to measure physical activity at the global scale this allowed the study of 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 found inequality in how activity is distributed within countries and that this type of 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.

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