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Prev Med Rep. 2017 Nov 9;8:232-237. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.10.019. eCollection 2017 Dec.

Introducing sit-stand desks increases classroom standing time among university students.

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Department of Health and Human Physiology, University of Iowa, 225 South Grand Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52242, United States.
Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa, 145 N Riverside Dr, Iowa City, IA 52246, United States.


Excessive sedentary behavior has been associated with many negative health outcomes. While an understudied health topic, there is evidence that university students are excessively sedentary. Sit-stand desks have been shown to reduce sedentary time among pre-university students (ages 5-18 years) and sedentary workers but have not been tested in university classrooms. This study tested the effects of introducing sit-stand desks into a university classroom on student's classroom sitting and standing behaviors. Using a cross-over design, students received access to both traditional seated desks and sit-stand desks for six weeks. Data were collected between September and December, 2016. We recruited 304 healthy undergraduate university students enrolled in one of two small (25 seats) classrooms at a large Midwestern university during the fall of 2016. Average minutes of standing/hour/student, average percent class time spent standing, and the number of sit-stand transitions/student/hour were directly observed with video camera surveillance. Participants stood significantly more (p < 0.001) when provided access to sit-stand desks (7.2 min/h/student; 9.3% of class time spent standing) compared to when they had access to seated desks (0.7 min/h/student; 1.6% of class time spent standing) but no differences were observed for the number of sit-stand transitions (p = 0.47). Students reported high favorability for the sit-stand desks and improvements in several student engagement and affective outcomes while using the sit-stand desks. These findings support introducing sit-stand desks in university classrooms as an approach to reduce sedentary behaviors of university students.


Sedentary; Sit-stand desk; University students

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