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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1227; doi:10.3390/ijerph13121227

Impact of an 8-Month Trial Using Height-Adjustable Desks on Children’s Classroom Sitting Patterns and Markers of Cardio-Metabolic and Musculoskeletal Health

1
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
2
Physical Activity Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
3
Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alesia Ferguson
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 30 November 2016 / Accepted: 6 December 2016 / Published: 10 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [314 KB, uploaded 10 December 2016]

Abstract

During school hours, children can sit for prolonged and unbroken periods of time. This study investigated the impact of an 8-month classroom-based intervention focusing on reducing and breaking-up sitting time on children’s cardio-metabolic risk factors (i.e., body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure) and perceptions of musculoskeletal discomfort. Two Year-6 classes (24 students per class) in one primary school were assigned to either an intervention or control classroom. The intervention classroom was equipped with height-adjustable desks and the teacher was instructed in the delivery of pedagogical strategies to reduce and break-up sitting in class. The control classroom followed standard practice using traditional furniture. At baseline, and after 8-months, time spent sitting, standing, stepping, and sitting-bouts (occasions of continuous sitting) as well as the frequency of sit-to-stand transitions were obtained from activPAL inclinometers and the time spent in light-intensity physical activity was obtained from ActiGraph accelerometers. Demographics and musculoskeletal characteristics were obtained from a self-report survey. Hierarchical linear mixed models found that during class-time, children’s overall time spent sitting in long bouts (>10 min) were lower and the number of sit-to-stand transitions were higher in the intervention group compared to the control group, while no changes were observed for musculoskeletal pain/discomfort. No significant intervention effects were found for the anthropometrics measures and blood pressure. Height-adjustable desks and pedagogical strategies to reduce/break-up sitting can positively modify classroom sitting patterns in children. Longer interventions, larger and varied sample size may be needed to show health impacts; however, these desks did not increase musculoskeletal pain/discomfort. View Full-Text
Keywords: sitting time; height-adjustable desks; school-age children; classroom-based intervention; musculoskeletal health; anthropometric measures; blood pressure sitting time; height-adjustable desks; school-age children; classroom-based intervention; musculoskeletal health; anthropometric measures; blood pressure
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Contardo Ayala, A.M.; Salmon, J.; Timperio, A.; Sudholz, B.; Ridgers, N.D.; Sethi, P.; Dunstan, D.W. Impact of an 8-Month Trial Using Height-Adjustable Desks on Children’s Classroom Sitting Patterns and Markers of Cardio-Metabolic and Musculoskeletal Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 1227.

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