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7 May 2014

Innovative study introduces standing desks in schools

Can standing desks in schools reduce Britain’s increasingly sedentary behaviour and help curb the country’s rising obesity epidemic?

That’s the question academics at Loughborough University are starting to answer through a new pilot study in Bradford.

The Stand Out in Class study, believed to be the first in the UK (and possibly Europe) to look at sit-to-stand desks in schools, introduced a bank of six specialist desks in a Year 5 classroom (ages 9-10) in January and is tracking pupils’ progress as they try to stand more in class.   

Recent studies have shown children in developed countries spend more than 65% of their waking hours sedentary (or sitting). This trend is worrying since lifestyle behaviours established in childhood typically track into adulthood.

By changing environments typically associated with prolonged periods of sitting, such as the classroom, researchers hope to affect a behaviour change in the younger generation.

In this study, children have daily access to the sit-to-stand desks and can choose how long they stand for each day.

Researchers are evaluating the impact of the desks on pupils’ sedentary behaviour, as well as exploring any health and learning outcomes. Initial results should be available this summer.

Lead researcher Dr Stacy Clemes from Loughborough’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) said:

“Childhood obesity is on the rise in Britain, and we know much of this is linked to the large amounts of time our children spend sitting or inactive.

“But if we can encourage children to stand more in class, which may have learning as well as health benefits, we can change behaviours which we hope will continue into adulthood.”

The Stand Out in Class study is being led by Loughborough University in collaboration with colleagues from the Born in Bradford Study. The sit-to-stand desks have been supplied by Ergotron.

Watch coverage of the study from this morning’s BBC Breakfast.

Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 14/82

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year title in 2008-09 and has been named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

Contact for all media enquiries

Amanda Overend
Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

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