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Why fidgeting is good for kids

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It may drive parents bonkers when their kids won’t sit still, but fidgeting actually has some health benefits, according to a new world-first study.

The Deakin University study found that children who fidget burn off more energy than those who don’t, and it’s helping to prevent unhealthy weight gain.

Katherine Downing, Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow, said the most fidgety children in the study burnt off almost 22,000 calories a year more than the least wriggly kids.

“For the average child in the study who weighed about 20kg, that could be a prevention in weight gain of about 3kg a year,” she said.

The most wriggly kids in the study changed their posture approximately 53 times per hour.

Dr Dowling said monitoring how much time children spend doing passive activities, like watching television, is important.

“We saw that when children were watching TV there were far fewer changes in posture than when they were playing with toys on the floor,” she said.

The results of the study apply for adults wanting to prevent weight gain too.

“It really just comes back to breaking up that sitting time,” Dr Dowling said.

“Even just standing and going for a short walk to the tea room … can have really important benefits for energy expenditure and health.”

 

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