Vietnamese people among the most sedentary in the world - survey

By Ha Phuong   July 13, 2017 | 07:00 pm GMT+7

The survey is based on the number of steps people take each day. 

Vietnamese people seem to be indifferent to physical exercise, according to a new study tracking people's activity conducted by Stanford University.

On average, Vietnamese people walk around 3,600 steps a day, far less than the global average of 5,000 and leaving the country seventh from bottom in the rankings. Hong Kong residents marched out in front with an average of 6,880 steps per day.

Stanford researchers analyzed a "planetary-scale" data set collected from more than 700,000 people in more than 100 countries who used the same health and fitness monitoring mobile app.

“The study is 1,000 times larger than any previous study on human movement,” said Scott Delp, a professor of bioengineering and one of the researchers. "There have been wonderful health surveys done, but our new study provides data from more countries, many more subjects, and tracks people's activity on an ongoing basis.”

The researchers said the results provided important insights on how to improve people's health.

However, the frequency of exercise calculated by the average number of steps appears not to correlate with obesity, said the study.

For example, Vietnamese people only take a modest number of steps each day, but according to a study released last month, the country has the lowest obesity rate globally.

The study by the California-based university unveiled that the key ingredient was "activity inequality", which is similar to wealth inequality, except instead of the difference between rich and poor, it's the difference between the fittest and laziest.

The bigger the activity inequality, the higher the rates of obesity.

"When activity inequality is greatest, women's activity is reduced much more dramatically than men's activity, and thus the negative connections to obesity can affect women more greatly," said Jure Leskovec, also part of the research team.