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Making Students Sit All Day Is "Inhumane"

Brad Johnson, Author of Learning on Your Feet: Incorporating Physical Activity into the K-8 Classroom has produced an article in Principle, published by the National Association of Elementary School Principles describing the practise of sitting in schools as "Inhumane"

Johnson makes links to rising rates of obesity, ADHD and diabetes as a result of the old fashioned sitting culture in modern day schooling.


Standing Desk in Schools
He has the stats to back up his claims and says that if these figures were related to an infectious disease that we'd be declaring an epidemic however as this is resultant from education it’s simply the status quo.

The Stats?

Obesity rates in children have doubled since the 1980's
Type 2 Diabetes is up 30% in children between 2000-2009
There are now 5.7 million children diagnosed with ADHD and the use of pyscho-stimulants such as Ritalin is up by 700%

Johnson reflects on a longitudinal study by Howard Gardner which found that a group of children who all tested at a genius level up to age 4 only ten percent continued to test at such levels by age 20. Johnson attributes this to the public education systems imposed uniformity and sedentary behaviours.

Johnson offers tips on helping kids to burn off their excess energy and focus on learning - these include regular breaks for stretching and standing, two minute exercise breaks for sit-ups to refocus and dancing and games designed to work off pent up energy.


The Key Take-Aways from the article


Johnson states that there are many connections between the brain and movement and our ability to learn, one of which is that the same part of the brain that controls movement controls also learning so Johnson believes that sitting actively hinders the learning process.

Basically exercise and movement stimulates the executive function part of the brain which aids cognition, organisation, focus, emotional regulation and multi-tasking all essential elements of a well-rounded learner.

"The part of the brain that processes movement also processes learning. So when students are sitting still, the learning process is actually hindered rather than enhanced.” - Johnson

Johnson’s article is available here.


...and his book is available here.


Standing and Movement in schools

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Chief Medical Officers Say Ban Screens at Meal and Sleep Times

The Telegraph are campaigning to create a 'duty of care' campaign which suggests that government enforce a rule-set for social media and gaming / internet companies to ensure the web is a safe place for our children in the face of the booming tech landscape they are growing up within.

They reported on Thursday that all four medical officers in the UK have made recommendations that screen time be monitored and reduced following a study that links screen time with depression in young people. The study has failed to prove a causal link however it shows a doubling in depressive symptoms for heavy social media users.


childrens standing desk provider blogs about phones in in bed being banned for children


Chief medical officer Prof Dame Sally Davies has warned social media companies to reduce addictive technology or face new laws to ensure they do so with costly fines for failing to meet the targets. Davies spoke as she made the first official announcement of proposed guidelines for parents to ensure their children don't overuse tech in a harmful way. She suggests tracking features within devices should be used by parents to ensure there are limits set on screen time.

Dame Sally said: “Technology is an unavoidable aspect of modern life and technology companies have a duty of care. They must make more effort to keep their users safe from harm, particularly children and young people.”

Matt Hancock, UK Health Secretary has met with leaders from Facebook, Instagram and Google to urge them to remove harmful images which might glorify self-harm or bullying.

“We are masters of our own fate as a nation and we can and must legislate to make sure this amazing technology is used for good if social media companies won’t work with us,” wrote Hancock.


education standing desk provider shows photo of people using phones at the dinner table


Guidance suggests limiting children’s screen time to 2 hours, screen free mealtimes and bedtimes. The last point being reinforced by the fact that the light from screens stops the production of the hormone melatonin, which is vital for getting to sleep.

The advice suggests these 7 pointers;

  1. Leave phones outside the bedroom when it is bedtime.
  2. Talk about sharing photos and information online and how photos and words are sometimes manipulated. Parents and carers should never assume that children are happy for their photos to be shared. For everyone - when in doubt, don’t upload.
  3. Make sure you and your children are aware of, and abide by, their school’s policy on screen time.
  4. Keep moving! Everyone should take a break after a couple of hours sitting or lying down using a screen. It’s good to get up and move about a bit.
  5. Advise children to put their screens away while crossing the road or doing an activity that needs their full attention.
  6. Talk with your children about using screens and what they are watching. A change in behaviour can be a sign they are distressed - make sure they know they can always speak to you or another responsible adult if they feel uncomfortable with screen or social media use.
  7. Screen-free meal times are a good idea - you can enjoy face-to-face conversation, with adults giving their full attention to children.

What's Our Take On This? 
It seems obvious to me as a parent that we shouldn't let our children spend their lives with their heads inside phone iPad and computer screens however it’s a habit we can all easily allow our family’s to slip into. The digital babysitter has rescued my sanity on more than one occasion and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

But the facts about depressive symptoms genuinely worry me as a parent. The telegraph wrote quite a moving account of a young girl who took her own life and the last thing she did was log into Instagram. Whatever was the last straw for her was on social media and this alone is enough to make me start to consider the content my kids are engaging with (and for how long) and more importantly to get off their bottoms and move more instead of sitting down and playing video games or with phones and devices.

There’s no getting away from the fact that we are rarely moving when we are on social media which might be a contributing factor to the high depressive symptoms with heavy social media users as their bodies aren’t getting the natural positive chemicals associated with exercise and sunlight such as serotonin, oxygen and vitamin D known as 'the sunshine vitamin'. I’ve said it before and I'll say it again. We are designed to move. Standing desks whilst they will rarely get us outside they do allow us to get busy with what we want to orientate on but also encourage us to move and stay physical...and the thing about moving is it's habit forming. Get used to moving and you wont want to sit down which will lead to a more active, happier lifestyle overall.

The guidelines above suggest regular breaks from sitting but many people say it feels more natural to get up and get moving than slouching all day which only makes us feel tired and lethargic.

Our standing desks are designed to work for all age groups and can be with you through your life with different desks in our range being for different age groups. We have Eiger Pro Desks for adults and Classroom Standing Desks such as the Eiger Student for kids as young as primary school age.

If you want to talk to us about the best solution for your school or home then get in touch through the site or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter but don't stay on there for too long ...obviously.

The Last Word

The new guidelines seem like a a long overdue measure. Tech companies proactively hire addiction consultants to make their games and experiences more addictive and our children are growing up with phones glued to their hands and are now being officially diagnosed as addicts. The personal gadget landscape could well have damaging long term affects and its important that we combat this now. Its essential that corporate's are held accountable for the long term affects of their nefarious tactics and that our government finally demonstrate they consider our children's mental health a priority. 

You may also want to read: Health Report Links Children's Screen-Time To 12 Major Cancers

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Sharp Rise in Obesity Related Cancers in Younger People

Laura Donnelly of the Telegraph has reported on a study by The American Cancer Society which shows a sharp upturn in obesity related cancer instances in younger people. The study used data from half the population of the USA over a 9 year period to conclude that whilst cancer is seen as a disease of the elderly that obesity related cancers have increased dramatically in the focus group of 25 to 29 whilst other cancers either declined or remained the same.

British experts have warned that this might reflect a similar threat the UK population as our obesity rates are growing much faster than in the states.  The UK's obesity rates have risen a startling 92% since 1991.

"For example, while annual rates of bowel cancer fell by 3.65 per cent in those aged 80 to 84, and by 2.96 per cent, in those aged 60 to 64, they rose by 2.41 per cent in those aged 25 to 29, and by 2.38 per cent in those aged 30 to 34." wrote Laura Donnelly.

The overarching concerns are that these disturbing increase in cancer rates due to obesity could completely negate our advancements in the NHS's ability to combat cancer. Experts who undertook the study have warned that screening for obesity is their recommended solve for this which would be very much inline the NHS new take on preventative  healthcare. 

 

Lead author Dr Hyuna Sung said “More than half of adults who were 20 to 49 years old between 2010 to 2012 reported poor dietary habits, such as eating little fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish and shellfish at the same time as eating too much salt, fast food, and sugary drinks”

Recent reports have shown that 2.3 million kids are inactive and that physical literacy in the classroom is imperative to ensure the next generation grows up in touch with their own health needs and used to moving.

70 million young children will be overweight or obese by 2025 if current trends continue according to the Childhood Obesity Foundation. 

Flexible seating is imperative to schools adopting a culture of activity and increasing their pupil’s movement levels. Student Standing Desk Trials for classrooms are available here.

 

On Topic: Childhood obesity rates soaring

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MacDonald’s Being Delivered to Schools Amid Childhood Diabetes Crisis

SUMMARY: MacDonalds are being delivered to schools despite the anti-obesity ban amid the backdrop of a Birmingham Child Type 2 Diabetes epidemic undermining headmasters efforts to inject healthy culture into schools. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Primary School Standing Desk Provider iwantastandingdesk.com reports on Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic

 

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Bringing Physical Literacy Into The Classroom With Student Standing Desks

Recent reports showed our children’s lives are now expected to last 5 years less due to the growing childhood obesity epidemic. One notion gaining currency as part of the solution and increasingly adopted by mindful teachers as a method of injecting a cultural shift their classrooms. Physical Literacy. 

Physical literacy is the ability, balance, confidence, desire and exploratory nature to live an active, healthy life. Student Standing desks can be used to integrate physical literacy at minimal effort.

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U.S. Elementary School Goes All Standing

After a one year trial following persuasion from parents, one California School has made a dramatic change to their classrooms by removing all traditional desks and replacing them with standing desks and resting stools.

The teachers at Vallecito Elementary in the San Francisco Bay area have reported that standing students demonstrate “increased concentration, less fidgeting, and less distracting behaviour”



Parents of pupils at the school Kelly and Juliet Starret who originally petitioned for the new initiative have since launched a non-profit organisation called “StandUpKids” 

StandUpKids actively promotes the use of crowdfunding for schools to overcome the financial investment of purchasing standing desks. They provide grants to US schools and aim to have children in every school in America standing within ten years. 

NHS guidelines in the UK state that Children under 5 should not be inactive for long periods, except when they're asleep. With the NHS now highlighting the health benefits and reduced BMI in standing kids and the UK’s health secretary actively promoting standing desks it may not be long until a forward thinking UK school makes the step to go entirely standing.

@standingdeskuk recently reported that children's life expectancy has dropped by 5 years. 

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Our Children’s Life Expectancy Has Dropped by 5 Years

In light of the shocking revelation that for the first time in history children’s life expectancy is 5 years shorter than their parents designedtomove.org has published a powerful video showing us what children would choose to do with 5 years extra to live. 

In 2010 Nike formed a group of 70+ organisations whose mission it was to provide a framework to combat inactivity and understand a path to solving growing sedentary behaviour in children.

After initial launch the Designed To Move report has been refined, validated and published by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE). The group refers to inactivity as an epidemic that threatens our health, happiness and prosperity.

The report can be downloaded here.

iwantastandingdesk.com and our twitter Standing Desk UK champions activity in schools and workplaces. We are here to help you be ambassadors for the change needed to fix the increase of sedentary behaviour which affects mental and physical health for everyone in your organisation. 

We offer standing desk trials for schools and offer free advice to companies on how to successfully integrate standing desks into their workplaces. We proudly stand up and shout about the designedtomove campaign, offering you solutions to help give the children their 5 years back.

 

 

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Parents Who Feel Kids Are “Tied-To-Desks” Embrace Home-Schooling

Guardian reporter Sally Williams has produced an editorial detailing examples of home-schooling throughout the UK citing statistics from the BBC that show a 40% rise in children being home-schooled since 2014-15. They point out the real number is likely to be even higher given that data is only collected on children who have been removed from school and excludes children who have never registered.

The government currently has no master register for home-schooled children and surprisingly very few restrictions on parents who wish to home-school. Parent/Teachers are not required to have any specific qualifications, don't have to teach the national curriculum, submit their children for national standard testing such as Sats or GCSEs and often allow children to lead their own education by following their own interests.

Many parents are leaning to home-schooling as a solution to their child experiencing issues such as exam stress, bullying or unmet special needs in the standard school environment. One mum in the article explains her thinking;

“School is very oppressive for young people. It’s not natural to be sat at a desk all day, with fluorescent lights, computer screens, barely able to see outside. “
Claire Mumford.

Can schools do anything to counter losing pupils to the growing rise of home-schooling? Anecdotal evidence shows that standing desks in the school environment afford children a greater sense of freedom whilst letting them focus on the work at hand. They help to tackle some the special educational needs many parents feel aren’t being adequately addressed in the school environment.

 

If you want to request a standing desk trial for your school get in touch here.

The full source article with more examples of homeschooling interviews.

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Child Obesity Rates Soaring Shows New NHS Data

More than one in five children are considered obese by the time the leave primary school according to new official NHS data.


In just over a decade child obesity rates have risen more than a third and are now at a record high. More than 24,000 children in England are now considered severely obese whilst a staggering 116,000 children are deemed obese.
Statistics captured are from the national childhood measurement programme.

"Obesity is a problem that has been decades in the making - one that will take significant effort across government, schools, families and wider society to address.” - Public Health Minister Steve Brine explained how the government has already removed a high level of sugar from children’s diets by enacting the sugar tax which has funded vital school sports and breakfast programmes and they have bold plans to half the amount of childhood obesity by 2030 by implementing Chapter Two of the Childhood Obesity Strategy such as preventing junk food advertising on television before 9pm.


Children with obesity face four times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes according to a study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. Whilst 41 Million children worldwide are regarded as obese according to research. Nick White Managing Director of iwantastandingdesk.com reflected on the growing trend “Without additional activity being including into daily learning hours, childhood obesity is going to become a problem at an educational level. Obesity becoming prevalent means lower activity levels and productivity reducing primary schools educational outcomes.”

Iwantastandingdesk.com offer standing desk schools trials here – Standing desks in schools encourage movement, improve productivity and help fidgety children engage whilst remaining active.

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Prince Charles Visits Damers First School

Prince Charles visiting Damers First SchholOne of our EIGER Student Primary School customers had a special visitor today - Prince Charles. Damers is a brand new, purpose built school built in Poundbury which is an urban extension to the Dorset county town of Dorchester, built on Duchy of Cornwall land according to architectural principles advocated by The Prince of Wales.

Damers First School purchased 5 EIGER Student Standing Desks after trialling them to improve activity and concentration levels in their classrooms.

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Don't tell children to 'sit still' - they will end up as fat couch potatoes

Children Standing Up

A report by MPs and peers has warned telling children to “sit still” sets them up for a lifetime of obesity.

Parents and teachers should encourage children's natural inclination to be physically active instead of telling them to stop fidgeting or to be seated for long periods. Fitness experts said today's children were being fed a diet of "sofa and screen time" while being starved of outdoor activities.

The report by the all-party parliamentary group on a fit and healthy childhood said most children today spend less time playing outdoors than prisoners are required to have outside by law. The group called on the Government to rewrite the childhood obesity strategy, to make promotion of exercise a more substantial part of it.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, co-chair of the group, said:  “The UK is in the throes of an obesity epidemic – but at the moment, our Government is not rising to the occasion with all the weapons at its disposal.”

The report highlights research which found three quarters of British parents said their children spend an hour or less playing outside each day - the minimum amount of outdoor time given to prison inmates.

That's where we know we've got a a part to play with our EIGER Student Standing Desks in UK schools. In classrooms children are inactive for 4.5 hours every day and are creating a lifetime habit to sit in learning and working environments. It needs to change.

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Scandinavian inspired exercise classes brain-train children

Active kids jumpingOliver Holcroft and Rufus Gordon-Dean, ex-Army officers who between them spent 700 days battling the Taliban in Helmand Province, are at the forefront of one of London’s fastest growing trends.

The pair of former public schoolboys have set up their own preschool company, offering physical, brain-stimulating classes to children between the ages of two and six.

After founding Tarka London in 2015, they are the talk of the west London schools circuit, with a string of celebrities among hundreds of mothers rushing to sign up their children.

Inspired by the Scandinavian approach to primary education, which places exercise and coordination above classroom, blackboard-led learning, the pair have carefully devised their programme alongside health and pediatric experts.

Their approach is supported by myriad studies, including recent research published by the University of Illinois, which found that healthy children have notably larger brains by the age of 10.

Using colour co-ordinated equipment, the pair put their young kids through a series of drills designed to maximise engagement and get their neurons - which connect at a rate of 700 to 1,000 a second - firing on all cylinders.

The secret to their success, they say, is simple - and yet notably absent from the services provided by many nurseries and primary schools across the country.

“We looked closely at Scandinavia, at how the education system works in Norway, Sweden and  Denmark.

“Here in the UK, 90 per cent of money spent on our children’s education is invested between the ages of six and 22, and yet 90 per cent of the human brain develops between birth and the age of six. It’s a completely skewed approached.

“Children’s brains are so malleable at that age, that’s why it’s so important to focus on the basics while they’re young.

“We’re obsessed with exam results in this country, but if you look across the world, the system which works best is the model we’re trying to promote. And you have to ask why we’re not using it.”

This fits in perfectly with our thoughts and ethos around activity in education and why we've designed and developed the EIGER Student classroom standing desk. UK schools are now starting to introduce them into their environments to create flexible, active learning environments.

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The National News!

ITV News LogoThis week we've been featured in the National news with our EIGER Student standing desk and one of our customers. Kewstoke Primary in Kewstoke, Weston-super-Mare were approached by The Times. The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Sun about them purchasing EIGER Students and why.

To finish it off ITV News cameras went to the school to interview Sarah Harding (the Headteacher) and some of the children.

You can see the ITV News article here - http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2017-10-04/on-their-own-two-feet-somerset-school-gets-kids-working-at-standing-desks/

Sarah was keen to add options to the way the children learn in the school and not just have them sedentary. So far it's a winner. 

Sarah used part of the Governments Sport Premium fund to fund them as it's a superb and sustainable way of getting the children "every day active".

Great news about a great school. Needless to say we've been inundated with interested schools about our FREE trial offer.

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Denise Lewis Wants Parents to Find Ways to Tackle Child Obesity

Denis Lewis AthleteDenise Lewis is a UK Olympic Gold medallist and a full time mother. Her household is extremely active (as you may have guessed!) but she understands they are not the norm.

Just 23 per cent of boys and 20 per cent of girls meet the national recommended level of activity, according to a survey by Public Health England (PHE). And the number of children meeting the recommended amount of physical activity, which is 60 minutes a day, drops by 40 per cent as they move through primary school.

“One in five kids is overweight or obese when they start primary school – that’s worrying in this day and age,” says Lewis. “I think parents as well as schools need to find ways to change that. If you start with good intentions and get them out and about from an early age, it can make a big difference.

Denise has joined forces with Change4Life and Disney, which are along with Sport England and schools around the country encouraging children to get active with the 10 Minute Shake Ups programme. It offers fun, 10-minute activities for kids, featuring their favourite Disney characters as inspiration.

The PHE survey revealed that more than half of children (57 per cent) said that they were more likely to be active if their parents were. But with another recent study suggesting that middle-age people don’t even squeeze in one 10-minute brisk walk a month, it’s perhaps no wonder that their children are inactive too.

This all ties in perfectly with our aim to get children spending less time in a chair during lesson time and using our EIGER Junior Standing Desks as an alternative. We're not suggesting all of the time, just mix it up.

To have a new generation leaving education and not be a habitual chair user would have a positive impact on long term health and wellbeing.

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Lawrence Dallaglio Demands Fitness Ratings for UK Schools

Lawrence Dallaglio Ex England Rugby Captain ImageEx England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio wants Ofsted to focus on physical activity as much as academic achievement. Assessing how physically active pupils are as part of a school's performance would have a positive impact on the childhood obesity problem.

One in three UK children leave primary school overweight or obese. Research suggests that without intervention 85% of them will become obese adults.

He pointed out how little focus there is in education on sport and nutrition and the seemingly unstoppable increase in childhood inactivity and related health problems.

UK children were ranked the eighth most overweight in a recent OECD study of 26 countries.

We're totally in agreement with Lawrence Dallaglio - educating a new generation on the importance of activity and nutrition is just plain common sense. 

Of course we would include in that how detrimental to health and wellbeing becoming a habitual chair sitter is. Introducing standing desk options into learning environments can only result in healthier and more productive children and in the future, adults.

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