Obesity is a big concern. Some adults are opting to use standing desks in favor of their standard office chairs as a way to stay standing during long hours at work, believing that this can improve their overall health. Is this the answer to childhood obesity as well?
A new study conducted by the researchers at Texas A&M's Health Science Center School of Public Health says that standing desks could be the answer, CBS Philly reports.
Associate professor Mark Benden and his team introduced the stand-based desks to three elementary schools and to 480 students. The students had a sensor attached to their arm to determine their step-count throughout and the calories that they burned. The experiment was done for five consecutive regular school days.
Fast CoExist reports that the standing desks resulted in a significant increase in activity. The students were able to burn 15 percent more calories that the students who used the traditional school desks. Obese children even did better, resulting in 25 percent more calories burned.
"When children are given environments that encourage and promote movement during instructional time, they will move more and consequently increase their energy expenditure. Similarly, traditional seated environments may actually constrain children's natural physicality and restrict their movements to a minimal level."
The standing desks that were provided to the school children had a higher desk, which came with a stool that the children could use when they want to sit down.
After the experiment, teachers of the students were interviewed, and according to them, the children also had improved concentration with the use of standing desks. The teachers also stated that younger pupils were more willing to stand up than the older kids.
The study is at its early stages, and Benden needs to conduct further testing to a larger set of students.
"The results of this study and previous pilot studies have established that activity-permissive classrooms do not cause harm to students; result in increased energy expenditure that may combat obesity among those in the highest risk categories; and improve behavioral engagement."
The standing desks are manufactured by a company called Stand2Learn. When the experiment was conducted, the students were not briefed about the desks. They were just present in the classroom when they turned up for classes.
Researchers of the study hope that with the results of their research, standing desks will replace standard desks someday in order to combat childhood obesity, and at the same time, not affect the children's classroom learning experience.
[Image via Fast CoExist]