(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- When it comes to walking, the U.S. needs to step it up to stay on pace with other countries. A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise finds that Americans only take an average of 5,117 steps per day. This figure is low in comparison to Australians, who average 9,695 steps a day, the Swiss, who average 9,650, and the Japanese, who tally around 7,168.
The data taken from 1,136 American adults shows that men, on average, take more steps daily than women. The researchers at the University of Tennessee also found that single people in the U.S. take hundreds of steps more than those who are married or widowed.
"The health benefits of walking are underappreciated. Even modest amounts of walking, if performed on a daily basis, can help to maintain a healthy body weight," lead author Dr. David R. Bassett, Jr., of the University of Tennessee Obesity Research Center in Knoxville, said in an American College of Sports Medicine news release.
The study's findings give insight as to why there are more obese people in the U.S. than in other developed countries, the researched noted. In the U.S., 34 percent of the adult population is obese, compared with 16 percent in Australia, eight percent in Switzerland and three percent in Japan.
"The results of our study are reasonably consistent with data from surveys of travel behavior," Bassett said. "In Switzerland and Japan, a much higher percentage of trips are taken by walking, compared to the United States. This is reflected in their greater daily step counts, and the additional walking seems to have an enormous public health benefit for those countries."
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