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body mass index (BMI).

Are You Ready For Standing Desks in Schools?

Parents, standing desks soon may become the norm in classrooms. They are already used in a handful of schools nationwide as opposed to traditional chairs and desks. 

A recent study of Texas classrooms 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 effect students’ BMI over time.

Researchers at Texas A&M tracked  around 400 kids and gave about half standing desks, while the rest had to work the old-fashioned 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 percent change in BMI between the two groups over time. 

One of the researchers, Dr. Mark Benden, director of the ergonomics center at Texas A&M, says these results shocked him. “This is crazy,” he said on first seeing the numbers. “Go back and rerun the numbers. Don’t breathe a word of this.”

Classrooms that use standing desks had kids with healthier outcomes.

After the study concluded, the Texas schools kept the standing desks and asked for more. 

Giving kids standing desks helps them burn more calories, and anecdotally, improves behavioral classroom engagement, the research concluded.

When  given a choice, parents don’t like sitting all day at work.

Recognizing the health consequences to static standing all day, Benden recommends a combination of the two.   

Read more about the study in Bloomberg

STUDY: American Women Struggle With Weight While Pregnant

belly of a young pregnant woman holding scales  at home (focus on the scales)

A somewhat-depressing new report found that only a third of pregnant women gained the “appropriate” amount of weight while carrying their progeny, while nearly half (47 percent) put on too much and another 21 percent didn’t gain enough. It’s a veritable Goldilocks situation.

For the study, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at data from about 3 million birth certificates where a woman carried a single child to term (that’s at least 37 weeks). They pulled the mothers’ height as well as pre-pregnancy and delivery weight to determine how many pounds they gained as well as their body mass index (BMI).

Women who were overweight or obese before getting pregnant were most likely to gain too much weight — 62 and 56 percent of them did, respectively — even though experts say they should gain the least. The guidelines are specific to the mother’s starting weight. Specifically, women with a BMI in the normal range of 18.5 to 24.9 should gain 25 to 35 pounds, overweight women (BMI of 25 to 29.9) are told to put on 15 to 25 pounds, and obese women (BMI of 30 or above) should only gain 11 to 20 pounds. Underweight women (BMI less than 18.5) should gain the most: 28 to 40 pounds.

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