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Could Standing Desks Be The Next Big Thing In Classrooms?

A new study suggests standing desks could help students stay active by reducing the amount of time spent sitting.

CREDIT: Flickr user Marco Arment.

Having standing desks in classrooms could play a key role in reducing the amount of time students are sitting, according to a study published last month in the journal “Pediatrics.”

Students typically spend more than half their school day sitting, including getting to and from school, during class, and at lunch. By using standing desks, students reduced their sitting time anywhere from 59-64 minutes per school day, the study found.

The study included an analysis of data from eight papers that had already been published, as well as a current study by researchers, which focused on standing desks used by first through sixth graders.

Reducing the amount of time students sit can play a role in improving overall health, as inactivity has been linked with issues including obesity and diabetes. Additionally, previous research found a connection between time spent sitting and low self-esteem and poor academic performance.

While the types of desks used in the different studies varied, as some were set at a fixed height while others could be adjusted between standing and sitting, researchers found that overall standing time increased when using the non-traditional classroom furniture.

In two of the studies, the amount of time students spent standing increased by around 26 to 31 percent. Two other studies saw students stand for an additional 24 minutes per day as a result of standing desks.

While the investigation into the impact of standing desks in schools found a connection between their use and time students spent sitting, additional research is needed to study the effect of the desks on academic performance and other outcomes, as well as their feasibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Matt Wotus is a reporter for Generation Progress, covering health and health care. Follow him on Instagram at @mawotus_27.

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