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.