Stand-Up Desks In College Station School Fighting Obesity

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Students at one College Station Elementary School are literally standing up against childhood obesity.

As a first grade teacher, it's rare to see Mrs. Hedge sitting still--In fact, in her classroom, sitting still is no longer a prerequisite for learning--Instead, her student's are getting their education while standing at adjustable-height stand-up desks.

"I have really enjoyed them, I feel like the students’ have really been able to focus and pay attention to their work because they are using some of their energy in just standing," claims Edie Hedge, First Grade teacher at College Hills Elementary.

Stand-up desks are a part of a small but growing movement across the U.S. and College Hills Elementary is reportedly the first school in Texas to embark on this experiment.

"It's exciting to know that we are helping a project that could conceivably be something that would help a lot of children in a lot of different places," says College Hills Elementary Principal, Jane Rankin.

Two years into the experiment, the results are paying off...

"Especially for my very active children,” says Hedge. “It really seems to help them be able to just use their self-control and pay attention to their work."

Dr. Mark Benden, of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, is the lead researcher on this experiment and he's tracking the students' movement to determine how many more calories are burned by those at stand-up desks than at traditional desks.

"What we found is the standing classrooms were on average burning about 17% more calories during the time they were in the class than the seated desks," says Dr. Benden.

But after digging a little deeper....

"We separated the children statistically, who were in the overweight or obese categories, which according to the CDC, is greater than the 85th percentile in weight for their age-range,” says Dr. Benden. “We looked at the children in the standing classrooms and the same types of children in the seated classrooms which are ultimately the target of this effort, and they were burning 32% more calories than their seated peers."

Dr. Benden says the stand-up adjustable workstations come with stools and are fit for each students' size and needs. The work stations also have dual foot rests, which Benden says, makes 'standing' at the desk more comfortable and easier on the feet. Not only does it make standing more comfortable, it also helps to alleviate pressure from the lower back. Which the study revealed, over time, improves posture.

In the end, it's a small effort that's Mrs. Hedge knows will make a big and lasting impression for the children of the future.

The study additionally reveals, students' who use the desks are not only helping to burn calories, they are also improving stamina while building a stronger attention span. Research has also proved those adults who use stand-up desks can lose up to 20 pounds in a year!