Sitting Time, Fidgeting, and All-Cause Mortality in the UK Women's Cohort Study

Gareth Hagger-Johnson*, Alan J. Gow, Victoria Burley, Darren Greenwood, Janet E. Cade

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: Sedentary behaviors (including sitting) may increase mortality risk independently of physical activity level. Little is known about how fidgeting behaviors might modify the association.

    Methods: Data were from the United Kingdom (UK) Women's Cohort Study. In 1999-2002, a total of 12,778 women (aged 37-78 years) provided data on average daily sitting time, overall fidgeting (irrespective of posture), and a range of relevant covariates including physical activity, diet, smoking status, and alcohol consumption. Participants were followed for mortality over a mean of 12 years. Proportional hazards Cox regression models estimated the relative risk of mortality in high (versus low) and medium (versus low) sitting time groups.

    Results: Fidgeting modified the risk associated with sitting time (p=0.04 for interaction), leading us to separate groups for analysis. Adjusting for covariates, sitting for ≥7 hours/day (versus <5 hours/day) was associated with 30% increased all-cause mortality risk (hazard ratio [HR]=1.30, 95% CI=1.02, 1.66) only among women in the low fidgeting group. Among women in the high fidgeting group, sitting for 5-6 hours/day (versus <5 hours/day) was associated with decreased mortality risk (HR=0.63, 95% CI=0.43, 0.91), adjusting for a range of covariates. There was no increased mortality risk from longer sitting time in the middle and high fidgeting groups.

    Conclusions: Fidgeting may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality associated with excessive sitting time. More detailed and better-validated measures of fidgeting should be identified in other studies to replicate these findings and identity mechanisms, particularly measures that distinguish fidgeting in a seated from standing posture.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)154–160
    Number of pages7
    JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
    Issue number2
    Early online date23 Sept 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Epidemiology


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