Fist bumps spread fewer bacteria than handshakes or high-fives: study

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President Barack Obama fist-bumps with a woman during a lunch visit to the West Tampa Sandwich Shop and Restaurant in Tampa, Florida, Sept. 8, 2012, during the first day of a 2-day bus tour across Florida. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

NEW YORK (AP) — When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, maybe the president is on to something with his fondness for fist bumps.

A new study found that a quick fist bump spreads only one-twentieth the amount of bacteria that a handshake does. That’s even better than a high-five, which passes along less than half the amount as a handshake.

What makes the fist bump more sanitary? The researchers say mostly it’s the smaller amount of surface area in contact between the two hands.

Researchers at Aberystwyth University in Wales conducted the study. It was published online Monday in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The fist bump has been popularized in recent years by athletes and by President Barack Obama.

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