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Idle time

Boring ourselves to death, literally Add to ...

Maybe you should take up macramé, or whittling or aquarobics. Ice dancing?

Ennui could be bad for your health, says a new report from University College London that found bored people are likely to die at a younger age than those who don't find life dull.

The researchers looked at the responses of 7,524 civil servants in the British capital who were asked in the late 1980s about how bored they'd been during the previous four weeks: "not at all," "a little," "quite a lot" or "all the time." They were aged 35 to 55 and none had cardiovascular disease.

The authors then looked at registry records to see who had died by April, 2009.

Those who reported "a great deal" of boredom were 40 per cent more likely to have died of heart disease by last spring, according to the study, which had no funding and will be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology this week.

"We found that those who report quite a lot or a great deal of boredom are more likely to be younger, to be women, to rate their health worse, to be in low employment grades and to report lower physical activity levels," wrote the authors, Annie Britton and Martin Shipley of the university's department of epidemiology and public health.

They posit that the correlation between boredom and heart disease might lie in the habits bored people often turn to, including drug abuse, smoking and excessive drinking.

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