Australian Schools Turn to Standing Desks to Fight Child Obesity

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By Reissa Su | July 1, 2014 8:08 AM EST

Schools in Perth, Australia are turning to standing desks and moving stools to help fight child obesity. According to reports, four Catholic schools are offering standing desks as alternatives to prevent students from sitting too long and help keep them stay awake in class.

The Sacred Heart Primary School in Highgate is moving to transform the whole school and create "21st century classrooms." The Perth school is working on a study, the first of its kind, to measure the impact of modern classrooms.

In a report by Perth Now, school principal Chris Dunning said students were encouraged to move every 20 minutes so students will not remain in the same position for too long to avoid health risks. He said the school does not have children's desks since they now use small and high tables including benchtops and stools that rock when students sit on them.

Height-adjustable desks have been fitted in a Grade 6 class at Mont Albert Primary School to allow students to sit or stand. The standing classroom is part of an experiment by researchers from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. Aside from preventing idleness among children, the standing classroom also improves their learning abilities.

Since the adjustable desks have been introduced in the classroom since October 2013, most of the students have tried standing in class. In 2014, a team of scientists will monitor the students in the standing classroom for 8 months to determine if standing can help improve their learning, memory, health and fitness. 

Obesity is not only a problem for Australian children but for adults as well, according to various reports. Australians were found to be alarmingly obese with seven in 10 men revealed to be "fat." In a recent report regarding worldwide obesity, health experts were "shocked" with the latest statistics stressing life expectancy may be reversed if people do not take drastic action.

Researchers described the report as the "most comprehensive global study to date" with 188 countries covered in the obesity study which includes worldwide rates in the past three decades.

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