244647 Dynamic Classroom Environments Utilizing Stand-biased Desks to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mark Benden, PhD, CPE , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Monica L. Wendel, DrPH, MA , Center for Community Health Development, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Megan Morales, MSPH , School of Rural Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College Station, TX
Obesity is of growing concern in the U.S., both in terms of health as well as productivity. Sedentary behaviors are increasing and are known to contribute to weight gain. Reducing sedentary behaviors can increase physical activity for reducing and preventing obesity. Standing is one way to reduce sedentary behavior and has been shown to increase calorie burn, proper posture, and blood circulation. Given the positive results of standing to work at the computer in adults, researchers at Texas A&M HSC sought to achieve the same effect with children in the classroom. Three studies were conducted using stand-biased desks with children in public school classrooms. The initial lab study validated the use of the SenseWear Armband to measure caloric expenditure in children, as well as establishing the sensitivity of the armband. The lab study revealed a 15% increase in mean calorie expenditure for standing versus sitting behavior within individual children. The second study examined the effect of standing on caloric expenditure in treatment versus control classrooms. The results showed increased caloric expenditure in the standing classrooms, with a heightened effect in children who were overweight or obese. The final part of this pilot study followed the first grade standing cohort to second grade. The findings of these studies provide evidence that policies to promote standing in school and work environments may be an effective method to combat obesity.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
After the completion of the presentation, attendees will be comfortable on describing the benefits of a stand-biased desk versus a traditional school desk, identify outcomes associated with sedentary behaviors, and discuss how stand-biased desks can combat obesity.

Keywords: Obesity, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a faculty member and co-lead investigator I am uniquely qualified to present this data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.