A new study finds that people in developed countries use the same amount of energy as hunter-gatherers in East Africa.  (California Watch, Sitting vs. hunting: Both use same amount of energy, study says)

Although you may be just sitting at your desk or planted on your couch while reading this, you are burning the same number of calories as the hardest-working hunter-gatherer in East Africa.

Indeed, the fact that you get from one place to another in your car, on a train or on a bus; that you ride an escalator or elevator to go up and down floors; and that you move only when you absolutely must makes no difference.

You still are expending the same amount of energy as the Hadza, who generally walk between five and seven miles a day to find food.

So concludes researchers who published their findings in Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity, Public Library of Science Journal.

To examine the relationship between physical activity and daily energy expenditure, the researchers wanted to see how much energy was exerted by the Hadza, a hunter-gatherer group living in East Africa.

Here is the abstract from the journal article:

Western lifestyles differ markedly from those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and these differences in diet and activity level are often implicated in the global obesity pandemic. However, few physiological data for hunter-gatherer populations are available to test these models of obesity. In this study, we used the doubly-labeled water method to measure total daily energy expenditure (kCal/day) in Hadza hunter-gatherers to test whether foragers expend more energy each day than their Western counterparts. As expected, physical activity level, PAL, was greater among Hadza foragers than among Westerners. Nonetheless, average daily energy expenditure of traditional Hadza foragers was no different than that of Westerners after controlling for body size. The metabolic cost of walking (kcal kg−1 m−1) and resting (kcal kg−1 s−1) were also similar among Hadza and Western groups. The similarity in metabolic rates across a broad range of cultures challenges current models of obesity suggesting that Western lifestyles lead to decreased energy expenditure. We hypothesize that human daily energy expenditure may be an evolved physiological trait largely independent of cultural differences.