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Comparison of Static and Dynamic School Furniture on Physical Activity and Learning in Children
- Presented on May 29, 2014
Purpose: To compare the effect of traditional (stable) and non-traditional (dynamic) school furniture, designed to allow increased low amplitude movement while remaining in a seated position, on children’s physical activity (PA), energy expenditure, information retention, and math skills
Methods: Participants were 12 students (8.3 yrs, 58% boys) in grades 1 – 6. Children participated in two conditions (stable and dynamic furniture), which were presented in a balanced order. Participants wore the ActiGraph GTX3+ accelerometer (to assess PA), and the Oxycon Mobile indirect calorimetry device (to assess energy expenditure). Participants wore the ActiGraph and Oxycon Mobile for a total of 40 minutes (20 minutes for each session). Each 20 minute session consisted of a 10 minute nutrition lecture and 10 minutes for answering multiple choice questions related to the lecture, and grade-appropriate math problems. Paired t-tests were used to examine the differences in the dependent variables between the stable and dynamic furniture conditions.
Results: Average activity counts were signiﬁcantly greater in the dynamic furniture condition than the stable furniture condition (40.82 vs. 9.81, p<0.005). However, there were no signiﬁcant differences between conditions for average VO2 (p=0.34), percentage of nutrition questions (p=0.5), or math problems (p=0.93) answered correctly. In addition, 75% of the participants reported that they preferred sitting on the dynamic furniture compared to the stable furniture.
Conclusions: Movement was signiﬁcantly greater in the dynamic furniture condition, and participants preferred sitting in the dynamic Chair:s as opposed to regular school Chair:s. Greater movement in the dynamic condition did not impede information retention or concentration. Future studies should compare the long-term effects of traditional and dynamic furniture on health and academic outcomes in schools and other settings.