Science has found more evidence of the benefits of standing desks

The writing desk of Charles Dickens, the popular novelist of the Victorian era. Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Students with standing desks are more attentive than their seated counterparts, according to a US study.

Preliminary results show 12% greater engagement in classrooms with standing desks which equates to an extra seven minutes per hour of engaged instruction time.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, are based on a study of almost 300 children in second through fourth grade over 12 months.

Standing desks are raised with stools nearby, enabling students to sit or stand during class at their discretion.

Ergonomic engineer Mark Benden, an associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Centre School of Public Health, became interested in the desks as a means to reduce childhood obesity and relieve stress on the spine.

Benden’s previous studies have shown the desks can help reduce obesity. Students at standing desks burning 15% more calories than students at traditional desks.

The latest study was the first designed specifically to look at the impact of classroom engagement.

“Standing workstations reduce disruptive behaviour problems and increase students’ attention or academic behavioural engagement by providing students with a different method for completing academic tasks (like standing) that breaks up the monotony of seated work,” Benden said.

“Considerable research indicates that academic behavioral engagement is the most important contributor to student achievement. Simply put, we think better on our feet than in our seat.”

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