Funding boost sees more sit-to-stand desks installed in schools

A study exploring the feasibility of introducing sit-to-stand desks into primary schools has been given a £413K funding boost.

The Stand Out in Class project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research Programme (NIHR PHR), will see Year 5 pupils in four Bradford primary schools trial sit-to-stand desks in a bid to better understand how these desks could one day feature in every UK classroom.

A recent study found primary school children in Bradford sit for approximately 10 hours per day, and spend 70% of their time in class sitting down. Evidence shows children who sit for long periods are likely to become adults who sit for long periods, with prolonged sitting increasing the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

The study is being led by Loughborough University scientists in partnership with scientists from the Born in Bradford study at the Bradford Institute for Health Research and builds on two previous studies in the city. In total, eight Bradford schools are taking part.

Researchers will measure children’s sitting, standing and walking time, general health, memory and learning, academic progress and classroom behaviour to gain a fuller understanding of the outcomes of using sit-to-stand desks.

The joint project leader Dr Stacy Clemes from Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, said:

“Advances in technology and changes to our lifestyles mean we now spend most of our waking hours sitting. We know this behaviour has damaging health consequences and so it’s vital we find a way of reducing our day-to-day sitting time.

“Our earlier research shows desks that enable pupils to switch between sitting and standing in the classroom are effective in reducing school day sitting time in the short term. We are now looking at how feasible it is to use these desks over a longer period and we’ll be measuring the results.”

The sit-to-stand desks used in this research have been donated by US-based company Ergotron. Carrie Schmitz, Ergotron Research Manager, said:

“We endeavour to create environments where children can grow and prosper for the sake of the community at large. Data collected from on-the-ground research projects like the Stand Out in Class study help shape classroom furniture design that will optimally support student health and performance for years to come.”  

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 17/41

  • Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via

    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 has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.

    Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

    Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

    The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

  • The National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research (NIHR PHR) Programme was launched in autumn 2008. It commissions research to evaluate public health interventions, providing new knowledge on the benefits, costs, acceptability and wider effect of non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health. The scope of the programme is multi-disciplinary and broad covering a range of public health interventions. The PHR Programme is funded by the NIHR, with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

  • The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (

  • Ergotron, Inc. is a global manufacturer of leading digital display mounting, furniture, and mobility products that have been improving the human interface with digital displays for 35 years. Learn more about Ergotron’s research commitment at, its involvement in activating classrooms at and the company at (


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