"Sloth Map": Inactivity Study Tracks Global Patterns & Risks

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Physical inactivity is as harmful as smoking, researchers say. (Photo: dazza chazza/Flickr)

All around the world, people are becoming more less physically active. And that growing sedentary lifestyle has real health consequences.

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Researchers say physical inactivity is to blame for 1 out of 10 deaths globally, about the same rate as deaths caused by smoking.

A new study in the medical journal The Lancet found that levels of physical activity roughly track patterns of development—people in higher income countries were the least active, with those in the UK and the US among the worst.

But they have plenty of company. The researchers surveyed 122 countries and ranked them by level of exercise, and the top three are somewhat surprising.

So that's today's Geo Quiz: what are the three countries on that list that are the most slothful?

One is a Mediterranean nation, one is in Africa and the third is in the Middle East. In all three, close to 70 percent of adults aren't getting enough exercise.

The answers are Malta, Swaziland and Saudi Arabia.

Anchor Marco Werman talks to contributing researcher Gregory Heath from the University of Tennessee.

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