28 Jan 2017

Can Sitting Harm Children?

Category: Health,LearningAdmin @ 4:30 pm
Conventional chairs and desks may not be the best workstations for children.

Classroom workstations could be improved.

Children Know Better

Children do not sit still easily. They have good reason not to: Prolonged sitting day after day can lead to organ damage, muscle strain and degeneration, cancer, impaired brain function, and other adverse health outcomes (nicely summarized in a 2014 Washington Post article entitled, “The health hazards of Sitting).”

Although most research has been aimed at adults, children may already be suffering. A sedentary lifestyle may contribute to childhood obesity (along with diet and other factors). Sitting too long can give one a headache,  backache, neck ache or muscle cramps.

With or without pain, too much sitting makes learning more difficult. It reduces oxygen intake and blood flow, thereby clouding the mind.

One Solution: Better Work Stations

StandUp Kids wants to reduce how much time children sit in school. They estimate that children sit 85 percent of their average waking hours – in school, on the school bus, and at home in front of the TV or computer.

The mission… is to get every public school child at a standing desk in 10 years, to combat the epidemic of sedentary lifestyles and inactivity, and to better reflect 21st century education goals.

If you have experienced any ill effects from sitting too long (I’ll bet you have!), you might want to help StandUp Kids advocate for better work stations at school. There are certainly other approaches – for example, changing classroom organization and schedules so that children are free to move around more – but the work station is a good start.

I myself have a hydraulic adjustable-height desk. I stand far longer than I sit. How about you? How long are you comfortable sitting? Do you move around enough? Do you have a treadmill desk?

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