Residents in the UAE scored below average when it came to the number of daily steps taken, according to a study by scientists at US-based Stanford University, who analysed 68 million days' worth of minute-by-minute data from 700,000 smartphones.
The study, published in international science journal Nature, found that the average number of daily steps taken by residents in the UAE is 4,516 as opposed to the global average of 4,961.
The Gulf country came in just before Brazil, which scored 4,289, and the UK, which scored an average of 5,444.
Hong Kong recorded a high of 6,880 while China and Japan came thereafter with averages of 6,189 and 6,010. Spain followed suit with an average of 5,936 daily steps.
Indonesia, which recorded an average of just 3,513, came at the bottom of the rankings.
Scientists were able to collect the smartphone data thanks to built-in accelerometers, which can record the number of steps taken by users when they are in possession of their phones.
However, the study also linked the findings to obesity, revealing that the average number of steps in a country was not as important as “activity inequality,” which is the gap between the fittest and laziest people, similar to the gap between the rich and the poor in “wealth inequality.”
Hence, the bigger the activity inequality, the higher the rates of obesity. Furthermore, the research found that activity inequality was largely driven by gender inequality, especially in countries such as the US and Saudi Arabia, where women spent much less time being active than men.
The low rates of activities were also linked to cities designed mainly for driving rather than walking, such as Houston and Memphis in the UAE.