While it may not come as a big surprise, a new study has determined that Americans don’t walk much compared with people in other nations. The author of a Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study (2010; 42 [10], 1819–25) equipped 2,522 Americans aged 13 and older with Accusplit AE120 pedometers. Results showed that the subjects took an average of 5,117 steps per day. Young, single men with higher education and low body mass index tended to walk most. Eating habits and living environment were not associated with steps per day.

According to the research, Americans scored far lower on the walking scale than study participants in other countries. Australians averaged 9,695 steps, followed by the Swiss at 9,650 and the Japanese at 7,165. “We conclude that low levels of ambulatory physical activity are contributing to the high prevalence of adult obesity in the United States,” stated the authors.

Do you want to help the members of your community walk more? To learn how to start a walking program, check out “The First Step,” by Shannon Fable, in the April 2007 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.