Average Steps per Day & Levels of Obesity: Any Connection?

If You Wait for Perfect ConditionsSumathi Reddy, writing in the Wall Street Journal in 2013, provides her readers with some interesting facts pertaining to steps per day and obesity levels.

  • 10,000 steps per day is the goal for each person.
  • In 2010, Americans, on average, took 5,117 steps a day.
  • Walking a mile roughly equals 2,000 steps.
  • Climbing a flight of stairs, roughly 10 steps, is equivalent to taking 38 steps on level ground,
  • Estimates from (US) government surveys indicate that people’s sedentary time outside of work has increased by about 40% between 1965 and 2009.
  • People who live in Colorado, where obesity rates are relatively low, take an average of 6,500 steps a day.
  • In contrast, residents of Tennessee and Arkansas, where the obesity rates are much higher, take an average of 4,500 steps a day.
  • In one study, 58 people watched 90 minutes of television marching in place in front of the TV during commercial breaks. They increased their steps by about 3,000 per day just by doing this during the commercials, this is equivalent to about 30 minutes of walking.
  • In a 2007 analysis of several studies, people who used pedometers increased the number of steps taken by an average 2,491 a day and boosted overall physical activity by about 27% from previous levels.


Reddy, S. (2013) Hard Math: Adding Up Just How Little We Actually Move. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324096404578354590581579014. [Accessed: 29 March, 2014].



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