Americans walk less than anyone else

at 01:14 PM ET, 04/10/2012

An endangered species, caught on camera. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)
Tom Vanderbilt has a new series in Slate on “the crisis in American walking.” As it turns out, Americans walk far less than anyone else. And it’s not just those dinky European countries. We walk just half as much as car-loving Australia:

The United States walks the least of any industrialized nation. Studies employing pedometers have found that where the average Australian takes 9,695 steps per day . . . the average Japanese 7,168, and the average Swiss 9,650, the average American manages only 5,117 steps.
Where a child in Britain, according to one study, takes 12,000 to 16,000 steps per day, a similar U.S. study found a range between 11,000 and 13,000.

This wouldn’t be worrisome if walking didn’t have all sorts of beneficial health effects — from lowering blood pressure to reducing obesity rates. So why don’t Americans walk more? You’ll have to read Vanderbilt’s piece, but in short: “As with many forms of physical activity, walking has been engineered out of existence.”

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