The new research suggests that the movements involved in fidgeting may counteract at least some of the long list of adverse health impacts of sitting for long periods.
The scientists, co-led by the University of Leeds and UCL, report that an increased risk of mortality from sitting for long periods was only found in those who said they fidgeted very little, whereas they found no increased risk of mortality from longer sitting times in those who considered themselves as moderately or very fidgety.
The study examined data from the University of Leeds’ UK Women’s Cohort Study, which is one of the largest cohort studies of diet and health of women in the UK.
“While further research is needed, the findings raise questions about whether the negative associations with fidgeting, such as rudeness or lack of concentration, should persist if such simple movements are beneficial for our health,” said study co-lead author Professor Janet Cade, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds.
The University of Leeds’ UK Women’s Cohort Study gathered information on a wide range of eating patterns of more than 35,000 women aged 35 to 69 who are living in the UK.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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