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Vietnam Among the Most Sedentary Countries on Earth: Study

According to a new study by Stanford University researchers, Vietnam is among the most sedentary countries in the world.

The findings, published in Nature, an international science journal, tracked the walking habits of 717,527 men and women from 111 countries using data from the step-counting app Azumio Argus.

This information was collected anonymously but provided researchers with demographic information, including age and gender as well as height and weight, which were used to calculate each participant’s body mass index. Researchers studied each individual’s step data over an average of 95 days.

In the end, Vietnamese adults averaged a total of 3,643 steps per day, below the global average of 5,000 and just seven slots from the bottom of the list, reports VnExpress. The most active participants were in Hong Kong, where residents clocked 6,879 steps per day on average.

According to Stanford’s own news outlet, the research team, led by computer scientist Jure Leskovec and bioengineer Scott Delp, also explored a phenomenon known as “activity inequality,” in which nations with a greater disparity between active and inactive participants were more prone to obesity.

“If you think about some people in a country as ‘activity rich’ and others as ‘activity poor,’ the size of the gap between them is a strong indicator of obesity levels in that society,” Delp told Stanford.

However, while Vietnam fell on the more sedentary end of the spectrum, the country still holds the lowest obesity rate in the world among adults, with just 1% of its population considered overweight or obese.

Researchers hope this information will help public health officials to encourage physical activity among the general population, while promoting more pedestrian-friendly policies in urban areas.  

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