Re­search shows these of­fice work­sta­tions could have health ben­e­fits for chil­dren


Study shows ditch­ing sit-only desks for stand­ing ones leads to health­ier chil­dren,

De­spite the constant back and forth on its health and pro­duc­tiv­ity ben­e­fits, the stand­ing desk — the Skech­ers Shape-Ups of of­fice fur­ni­ture — has gone from work­place cu­rios­ity to a fix­ture of the mod­ern of­fice.

But there’s a yet-un­touched desk pas­ture ripe for col­o­niza­tion by our favourite love-to-hate work­sta­tion: schools.

A hand­ful of class­rooms have al­ready ditched tra­di­tional sit-only desks for their stand­ing coun­ter­parts, but fol­low­ing a new study from Texas A&M Univer­sity this week, a lot more could fol­low.

Re­searchers found that stand­ing desks had a pos­i­tive im­pact on the body mass in­dex (BMI) of kids who use them.

For two years, three un­named Texas schools tested how stand­ing desks might af­fect stu­dents’ BMI over time. Track­ing around 400 kids, the re­searchers gave about half stand­ing desks, while the rest worked the old­fash­ioned way.

The raised workspaces came with stools and bars un­der­neath for the kids to rest their feet. All chil­dren wore re­search-grade ac­tiv­ity track­ers. Af­ter two years, the standers had over­all lower BMI than the sit­ters. Re­searchers mea­sured more than a 5-per-cent change in BMI be­tween the two groups over time.

One of the re­searchers, Dr. Mark Benden, di­rec­tor of the ergonomics centre at Texas A&M, says these re­sults shocked him.

The data showed a sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence be­tween the two groups. Class­rooms that use what

“We don’t want to have static stand­ing re­place static sit­ting. Quite frankly, it’s not much bet­ter.”



the re­port calls “stand-bias” desks lead to health­ier out­comes for kids.

Fol­low­ing the study, the Texas schools in­volved in the study not only kept the stand­ing desks, but asked for more. (Benden also cre­ated Stand2Learn, the com­pany that out­fit­ted the school with the desks.)

Pre­vi­ous re­search on chil­dren has con­firmed a lot of the same in­for­ma­tion we’ve heard about adult us­age: Giv­ing kids stand­ing desks helps them burn more calo­ries, and anec­do­tally, im­proves be­havioural class­room en­gage­ment.

Like their par­ents, when given the choice, kids won’t choose to sit still all day.

“They could sit or stand as they wanted,” ex­plained Benden.

Of course, stand­ing all day isn’t good for health ei­ther, re­search has found.

“We don’t want to have static stand­ing re­place static sit­ting,” said Benden. “Quite frankly, it’s not much bet­ter.”

Peo­ple of­ten choose a blend of the two. The kids would lean, perch­ing on a stool or prop­ping them­selves up against the desks. Some of the younger stu­dents would forgo the stool al­to­gether, mov­ing it to the side. The big find­ing in Benden’s lat­est study is that all that mov­ing (even if it looks like awk­ward squirm­ing) is ac­tu­ally hav­ing an ef­fect on health.

If stand­ing desks make it to schools, we could see a stand­ing-desk rev­o­lu­tion in the work­place — much to the cha­grin of sit­ting en­thu­si­asts. The sit desk could be­come a thing of the past.

Schools were made for in­doc­tri­na­tion. If kids grow up us­ing stand­ing desks, when they get to the work­place, they won’t even know how to in­ter­act with what they’ll call a beta desk.

They’ll de­mand stand­ing desks for all. Doesn’t Gen­er­a­tion Z in the work­place sound fun?

Benden is a stander. He’s had a stand­ing desk for more than 15 years.

“Peo­ple thought I was pretty weird,” he said. “I would say it’s main­stream now.”


Stand­ing desks, once a work­place cu­rios­ity, are a fix­ture in mod­ern of­fices.

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