What do you think is a country – it’s demographics, its resources, it’s ranking in the world for various things, it’s culture or something else. I believe it is a combination of all but mostly it’s a reflection of its people.
According to a recent study by Stanford University, we have been labeled as one of the laziest countries of the world. In fact, we have ranked 39 out of 46 countries in the list. When I came to know about it, I was appalled and dumbfounded as to how can this be. But the result of the study showed Indians averaged about 4297/day, which is even lower than the world average of 4961, forget about top walking Hongkong with an average of 6880 steps per day.
Personally, my first instinct was to ignore the study as half-baked. Yet I had to cave in as this study is one of its kind. The data is based on readings taken from smart phones of about 7 lakh people from around 111 countries for about 68 million days. Most smart phones can calculate the steps taken by an individual, and provide a truer picture than surveys.
The study was to find a correlation between activity status of people and obesity factor of the same country. In regards to it, they observed that the activity levels across a country were not similar, some were highly active whereas some people were simply inactive. This element is called ‘Activity Inequality’. And this is what they found to be directly proportional to the obesity rate in a country rather than average steps. It also highlighted the disparity between men and women, who registered even fewer steps than men’s average wherever this activity inequality was higher and hence became more susceptible to obesity.
The study revealed many crucial facts and points that could aid the nation in making its people more healthy. Like ‘Walkability’ which is how easy it is to get around walking, in cities where walkability was better, people registered more steps.
Some of us will argue that still in many parts of India, people perform a rigorous physical task and don’t have smart phones to tap in the numbers. Yet, even if these numbers are just for urban India, it is still alarming. We are the ones with more access to health knowledge, gyms, fitness routines, the informed population, hence we should have been exemplary.
For being fit, we all know that in numbers we need to have an average of 10000 steps daily. But if you walk or workout for an hour or two in one go, and then be a couch potato for the rest of the day, you are defeating yourself. Activity cannot be confined to just one part of the day, one needs to be active all day long. You can try taking stairs instead of lifts, walk out for lunch, instead of home delivery, walk down to your grocery store. Take your dog for a walk, play with your kids, ladies dance while you clean your homes. There are many ways we can improve on this quotient.
We are the land who gave Yoga to the world, we cannot be defeated or left behind in this field. Let’s work to get better and put our country’s name among the top active countries rather than the lazy ones.
Photo credits: Pixabay