Fidgiting for Fitness

NEAT, Weight, and Fitness
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis – which means burning calories when you’re not working out. In some elegant work by James Levine et al., self-described couch potatos were instrumented for ten days. Some were naturally lean, others mildly obese. The difference between the leans and the mildly’s in non-exercise spontanteous physical activity was about 2 1/2 hours a day. That’s time the leans were up moving around, doing this or that, fidgiting – engaged in non-systematic physical activity – that the corresponding mildly obese were sitting.
The jury is still out on whether the growing obesity epidemic is the result of more and higher-glycemic food or less activity, though some data from Britain suggest the latter. The mechanisms that influence propensity to fidgit aren’t known – hard not to think there’s a substantial genetic component since it tends to run in families. On the other hand, since it is an epidemic, environmental factors have to play a major part in the large-scale trend.
Nice experiment: remove television completely from some significant number of households and see what happens to activity levels and weight. Meanwhile, get up. (Original research: J. Levine (and many others), Interindividual variation in posture allocation: Possible role in human obesity. Science, vol 307, 28 January 2005.) (2/3/05)

Please follow and like us:

Related Posts

Cold Hands

Get More Sleep

How Burnout Might Work

Healing Stress Fractures and Broken Bones