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Stanford Researchers Find Intriguing Clues About Obesity By Counting Steps Via Smartphones

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A pedestrian walks across OConnell Bridge in Dublin, Ireland.

Stanford University researchers used data captured from the smartphones of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe to discover a public health risk they call activity inequality.

Credit: Giuseppe Milo/Creative Commons

Stanford University researchers used smartphones to track the activity levels of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and found that in countries with little obesity, people mostly walked a similar amount per day.

Significant gaps between people who walked a lot and those who walked very little coincided with higher levels of obesity.

The researchers describe this public health risk as activity inequality.

Their study analyzed the habits of 717,000 men and women from 111 countries whose steps were studied for an average of 95 days.

The researchers, led by computer scientist Jure Leskovec and bioengineer Scott Delp, also found a gender step gap varied from country to country with negative consequences for women.

"With the appropriate apps and sensors we can push this research in exciting directions," such as linking activity to food intake or mental health, says Stanford professor Abby King.

From Stanford News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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