Fitbit data reveals steep decline in average step count during pandemic

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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, this has had a major impact on physical activity levels for over 30 million active Fitbit users around the globe. As countries adapt to social distancing and community quarantines, it is not a surprise that almost all countries studied by Fitbit experienced a statistically significant decline in average step count, compared to that of the same time in the previous year. 

The severity of the decline in steps varied from country to country, with European countries showing a more dramatic change, ranging from a 7% to 38% decline in step counts during the week ending March 22

Fitbit data scientists established a baseline for normal activity levels around step count in each area by analyzing the activity of millions of Fitbit users with similar characteristics during the same week from the previous year. According to this analysis, during the week of March 22, 2020, the United States saw a 12% decline in step count.

The graph below shows how step count behavior has changed over time on a country-by-country basis. For example, the deviation from normal activity for this time last year occurred much earlier in the year for countries like China and Hong Kong, which were the first to face Covid-19. There are also reasons for optimism, as the graphs reveal that step counts are starting to rise again in China, Japan, and Hong Kong. 

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