Friday, 4 August 2017

Activity Inequality Gap

It appears that scientists have finally found some practical use for all those unused smart phone fitness apps. They can track worldwide activity levels.

Fitness Apps Promise Much But Are Usually Unused After A Month

They managed to get permission to anonymously track 700,000 users of the Argos activity app's built-in accelerometer.

This has thrown up some interesting results: The Stanford University analysis of 68 million days' worth of minute-by-minute data gave a worldwide average number of daily steps at 4,961 per day.

Activity Chart Shows That UK/USA Are Not Laziest ....

  • The most active society was Hong Kong, averaging 6,880 steps a day.
  • Indonesia was bottom of the rankings with just 3,513 steps a day.

But the most interesting fact to emerge was that the average number of steps taken in a country appears to not be an indicator for obesity levels. In fact the key ingredient is "activity inequality" (it's the difference between the fittest and laziest). The bigger the activity inequality, the higher the rates of obesity.

For instance, Sweden had one of the smallest gaps between activity rich and activity poor... it also had one of the lowest rates of obesity. Whilst the United States and Mexico both have similar average steps per day figures, but the US has higher activity inequality and therefore higher obesity levels.

Now in fairness the report draws all sorts of inferences from the collected data, including on how female inactivity levels add greatly to obesity levels.

But what strikes me from all this, is that smartphone fitness apps are useless indicators of personnel obesity levels as I always suspected.


  1. The activity equality gap is a very interesting observation - a healthy society is not found where the most activity is but where the activity gap is slimmest. I'm sure the same could be said for an economy too; the richest economy is not the one with the most wealth but where the wealth is most evenly distributed.

    1. I agree ..... the USA circa 1974 was when the gap between rich and poor was at its narrowest, as in the first half of the 20th century (which lasted up until the mid 1970's on both sides of the Atlantic), for the wealthiest 1% of societies to be expected to pay more in taxes i.e. For the differential between them and us to gradually decrease.

      Its arguably when the average US citizen was at his wealthiest.


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