Does your kiddo spend too much time on her bum? It’s time to change it up: Try to let him use a standing desk. Standing desks, or stand-biased desks, are raised desks with foot rests and/or stools nearby, which enables children to sit or stand as they please while working.
Introducing StandUp, a height-adjustable standing desk created by ergonomic furniture manufacturer Jaswig with kids in mind. The startup company, which has offices in Belgium and in the U.S., aims to reform unhealthy sendentary behavior. Part of it smission statement reads: "We want to change the sitting norm by addressing all areas of society, including children. It is better to prevent a bad habit from being developed than to treat symptoms resulting from it."
"The idea behind making a version for children is that if standing regularly has many benefits, we should allow children to stand up as well if they want," Jaswig co-founder Mathias Ellegiers said in an interview with TODAY.com. The key is to using a standing desk effectively is using one that is of a comfortable height, which is what makes Jaswig’s StandUp desk, well, stand out. Since it’s adjustable and comes in three sizes, it doesn’t only instill healthy habits in kids, it’s versatile, too. "Parents particularly like the desk because it fits the whole family," he added. "Both mother and son can use the same desk." The StandUp desk also gets plus points for having a sleek design.
Why a standing desk? Healthcare professionals cannot stress enough the importance of being active, especially for kids. Several studies have shown that spending too much time sitting can lead to a lot of heath conditions such as bad posture which can lead to back pains, and a sedentary lifestyle that can up the children’s risk for obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. In fact, the World Health Organizationreports, physical inactivity as the fourth largest risk factor for death globally.
A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, which involved about 80 first-graders, had shown that children can burn 17 more calories if they use a standing desk compared to regular sitting desks. In the same study, obese children who used standing desks burned even more calories--32 percent more--than other kids who used ordinary sitting desks.
Another study in 2014 found that those who used standing desks expended more energy and also increased their step count (most probably because of the foot rests!). More recently, researchers from the Texas A&M University found that kids in second through fourth grade who used standing desks helped them pay more attention in class—they are more engaged, which was measured by how often they answer a question, raise their hand, or participated in active discussion, and even by getting into discussions when they aren’t asked to or when it’s not their turn.
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“Standing workstations reduce disruptive behavior problems and increase students’ attention or academic behavioral engagement by providing students with a different method for completing academic tasks (like standing) that breaks up the monotony of seated work,” says Mark Benden, Ph.D., CPE, associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, who was involved in the last two studies. Both studies were published in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education.