News Watch - Active Lifestyle

All kids in standing classrooms in ten years to combat sedentary behaviour

Fighting sedentary behaviour by getting all U.S. public school students at a standing desk in ten years is the objective of the recently established not-for-profit organization StandUpKids.

StandUpKids has just launched its website, which contains a host of information on the negative health effects of sitting on the population as a whole. A growing body of data demonstrating this has become available in recent years, as highlighted by the 2013 report published by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, for example.

Photo : Stand2Learn

Greater energy expenditure

Data on the adverse effects of sitting in class on schoolchildren are scarcer, although two recent studies indicate that standing in class behind a specially designed desk has certain advantages.

A study of 374 elementary school students showed that those in a classroom using standing desks burned 15% more calories than those in a seated-desk classroom. The study also reports anecdotal evidence from teachers that standing students appear to be more attentive.

Another study, just published, shows that standing in class does not hinder students’ participation or concentration.

Platform linking schools and donors

What makes StandUpKids particularly unique is that it brings together donors and teachers via the crowd-sourcing website DonorsChoose.org.1

On the site, teachers can ask donors to help fund the purchase of adjustable standing desks and donors can choose the initiative they find the most inspiring. Roughly a dozen projects are now posted.



Photo : Juliet Starrett

Canada and elsewhere

In Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, a handful of teachers have installed a few adjustable standing desks in their classrooms, some even building their own. See short report on one teacher’s efforts in Saskatchewan: Grade 1 kids get standing desks in Saskatchewan town.

In 2014, as part of a pilot project, work tables were replaced by adjustable standing desks in a Grade 6 class at Mont Albert Primary School in Australia. (in French).

A similar project began in 2014 in a primary school in Great Britain.

Sources: Fast CoExist, StandUpKids, email discussion with Mark Benden, Researcher and Associate Professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health.

1. DonorsChoose.org is an online charity launched in 2000. Its mission is to facilitate the funding of school projects in U.S. public schools. Currently over 25,000 projects of all kinds are posted on the website.

Veille Action – May 4, 2015