Classroom redesign could reduce childhood BMI by 5 per cent
Texan researchers have investigated the effects of sitting at desks all day on students, and have found evidence that using standing desks in schools could help to reduce childhood obesity.
Sedentarism has been linked with obesity and type 2 diabetes – as more people spend more time sitting and not exercising. Furthermore, previous research also linked sedentarism with poor academic achievement, and even causing undue stress to the lower back.
The standing desks are designed so that children can either stand or sit at them, raising the tabletop level to a point where they can comfortably do either and switch between sitting on a stool and standing at will.
The researchers followed 380 third and fourth grade students and 24 teachers for two years, having randomly assigned them either standing or regular desks. It was found that the standing desk users saw a modest weight loss.
Around 80 per cent of the children were of a healthy weight, and the researchers did not exclude the results of children who were overweight.
Having the option to stand increased the amount of time the participants were on their feet throughout the day, and helped to give their posture relief. It was found that those with the standing desk reduced, on average, their body max index (BMI) by 5 per cent.
The researchers concluded: “Changing a classroom to a stand-biased environment had a significant effect on students’ BMI percentile, indicating the need to redesign traditional classroom environments.”
With the rising number of people with obesity, and type 2 diabetes (with the metabolic condition being seen more regularly in children) any evidence is key to find new ways to combat the rising health issues seen across the country and the western world.
The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
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