JAMA Paediatrics has published a study which explains that half the population of USA children have a mental health disorder and only half of those get treatment.
In 2016 a US wide survey was given to parents of children and teens of 46.6 million children aged 6 to 18, 7.7 million had at least one mental condition such as depression, anxiety or ADHD and only half of these were receiving treatment within the last 12 months.
Interestingly the numbers from state to state across the broad US varied wildly suggesting external factors have an influence over mental health in young people. The children of Hawaii for example only 7.6% had one of the conditions compared to Maine where over a quarter of the kids had one or more.
The Author of the study Mark Peterson professor at University of Michigan Medicine said the high numbers of mental illness and how many go untreated was unexpected.
The low treatment numbers are attributed to a lack of mental health services, poor insurance coverage and a stigma attached to mental health conditions meaning that parents were averse to putting their children into support services.
"Untreated mental illness in children pose grave consequences to our communities, including high rates of suicide, academic decline and unemployment" - Dr. Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio
Our Take on This…
Physical literacy is a malnourished area of our children’s care. More needs to be done to ensure that our children are in the best possible state with their mental health as we wrote earlier in the week, getting exercise and vitamin D is a hugely important aspect to that.
The UK is just starting to raise how we tackle mental health in children. 9 local authorities in the UK have this week each received a share of £650,000 to pilot a program designed to improve the way children and young people’s mental health needs are met as they enter care.
Cllr Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service, said: "We listened to young people when they asked us to help support their mental health needs. Being part of this project is a great opportunity to ensure each child gets help that is right for them, at the right time. As we roll out this pilot, we will continue to listen to young people every step of the way.”
This week UK doctors have also urged parents to reduce the amount of screen time we allow our children as this is directly linked to the growth of adverse mental health conditions noted in the survey.
More screens mean less movement. Our children lifespans are 5 years shorter than our own because we have allowed a landscape of inactivity to develop and this needs to be countered at the earliest ages. It has been proven that active children become active adults and physical activity leads to better educational results and children with less mental and physical health disorders. We work with schools to implement flexible seating plans integrating standing desks into schools and the feedback we receive reinforces our belief that standing desks in schools are an essential part of an overall solution.
If your school wishes to trial standing desks then you can request a trial here.
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.
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.
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;
- Leave phones outside the bedroom when it is bedtime.
- 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.
- Make sure you and your children are aware of, and abide by, their school’s policy on screen time.
- 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.
- Advise children to put their screens away while crossing the road or doing an activity that needs their full attention.
- 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.
- 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
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
Next week is Children's Mental Health Week and the theme of the year is to be Healthy: Inside and Out. Looking after bodies and minds is a message very much in keeping with the benefits UK schools report back to us they experience with classroom standing desks.
Pupils actively look forward to classes with flexible seating options and can move more freely and express themselves confidently. Active pupils are reportedly more productive and more likely to engage the lesson. Good mental health we believe is essential to fostering an environment suitable for learning and allowing our children to be well rounded and happy. READ THE FULL STORY HERE
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.
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.
Three Doctors have been quoted in the media this week. Here's why.
Do you own a standing desk ? Do you run? if you answered yes to both of these questions then using time at your desk practising balancing on one leg is just what the doctor ordered.
Dr Mark Cucuzzella is a running expert and a professor of family medicine in West Virginia. Amongst the myriad of "new year, new you" articles hitting the internet this January sits a nice little tip from the good doctor. He suggests runners should concern themselves with establishing and improving their balance and if you run and use a standing desk, you can use specific times in the day as a prompt for you to stand on one foot to develop and improve your centre of balance. This could be when you answer your emails or some other habitual moment that’s memorable and suitable for you.
Now why does this matter? well balance plays a huge role in running and — “because running is a series of jumps where you have to land on one foot, stick that landing and get off the ground,” Cucuzzella says it’s all about staying safe and injury free on the road or track. His article has a series of tips for runners to get active and stay healthy in world where technology is increasingly designed to keep us in chairs.
“Just spend as much time as you can on one foot trying to master that balance and never lose it,”
The act of balancing on one foot takes stress off each leg and initiates a degree of movement as anyone who follows this blog already knows we actively encourage this in order to get benefit from your standing desk. We feel this tip can work for all you standing desk users to keep those micro movements up which will help maintain good circulation and better calorie burning benefits from standing. Remember standing still all day is almost as bad for you as sitting still all day.
Secondly a well written article on the Independent also includes another UK medical practitioner, TV Doctor Mark Rowe providing a series of life changing tips including investing in a standing desk as part of a new year healthy regime to keep movement up and vary your working position - read their piece on getting active in 2019 here on their Life Health and Well-being blog.
Lastly Dr Vegar Rangu a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has had some disconcerting results to their study of cancer rates among 38,000 adults over a 16 year period, and found that those who reported sitting for long periods each day were 20% more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who spend more of the day on their feet. You read more about their research here on the Metro.
Studies have previously linked long sitting periods with increased rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer and premature death but this one specifically shows a link to an increase in prostate cancer.
‘The main findings were that prolonged sitting time is independently associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer while moderate to high leisure-time physical activity may reduce the risk of specific cancer types, particularly colorectal and lung cancer,’ says Dr Rangul.
‘we noted that moderate physical activity significantly decreased the risk – the findings emphasising the importance of reducing sitting time and increasing physical activity.’
With 2019 barrelling down upon us and those post-Christmas dinner waistlines stretching it’s that time of year when many of us start to think about how we might tackle our healthy habits for the upcoming year. Now as research illustrates Gyms aren't cutting it, as 9 out of 10 people who buy into a yearly gym membership will quit after only 6 weeks and with new NHS guidelines recommending standing meetings to tackle the growing obesity problem affecting our nation its time to consider working up those new year’s resolutions.
If you are making some firm plans to integrate standing and movement into next year’s plan for a healthier body then you might want to bookmark the 26th April.
“On your feet day” which is a national day when workers across Britain participate in a variety of fun activities to sit less and move more. Is free to sign up (which you can do here.) and offers suggestions getting everyone involved in fun and simple ways;
• Stand during phone calls
• Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
• Use the stairs
• Have standing or walking meetings
• Eat your lunch away from your desk
• Walk to your colleague's desk instead of phoning or emailing them
• Stand at the back of the room during presentations
The national standing challenge day website offers a challenge page with ideas on how to take part, including the creation of teams and fun challenges. Once signed up you can download posters, guidelines and information from March 2019.
We urge you to get involved, sign up, book the day in your diary and join 2 million other people championing standing in the workplace this New Year. Official website is www.onyourfeetday.com
The traditional image of school classrooms with identical desk seating in rows is fast becoming obsolete in favour of a bold new choice of classroom design. One that encourages choice and ownership of the space for students. We are talking about the growing trend that is flexible seating.
As part of a district wide classroom redesign in Kansas, Tescott Elementary have joined a number of other schools in the USA who are empowering students by introducing flexible seating options for its students.
So what is flexible seating? A growing concept of creating learning spaces wherein children take turns going first picking their preferred seating in the classroom, children select from a list of possibilities from traditional seats, wobble stools, floor mats, standing desks, crate seats, metal chairs, rocking chairs and various other teacher selected options all reflecting the character of individual class types and teacher preferences. The options encourage a relaxed mind-set and ensure students vary their physical positions throughout the day in the hope to benefit their productivity and learning.
"Flexible seating is an opportunity for students to select their best learning seat within the classroom,” said Abell, who has been teaching for 13 years. “In my classroom, they select a seat first thing in the morning according to our seating line up (number order). That way, each student gets an opportunity to be the first to pick first at least once a week.”
Rachel Ehlers, first grade teacher at Tescott Elementary said "We felt the students would work better if they were allowed to work not only at their own pace, but also in their own comfortable positions."
The school principle Steven Kimmi explained that the move to flexible seating isn’t just designed to make school more fun but to ensure they provide the best possible learning space tailored to each individual student.
“Flexible seating was designed to give students choice, physical health, comfort, collaboration, and commitment to learn,” she said. “Flexible seating allows students to choose their best learning space for the day and allow them comfort to collaborate with others if needed to have the best learning experience in our school.”
Feedback from parents and teachers have been incredibly positive, one parent commenting that the space felt like home and Abell points out the students are demonstrating greater focus and pride as they are being given the extra autonomy to decide their own seating for the day.
Eiger Student Standing desks can be integrated into flexible seating designs in schools. Eiger and iwantastandingdesk.com currently work with numerous UK schools to ensure their individual spaces are made to suit the individual needs of the students. You can request a standing desk trail for your school here.
A video released three days ago by YouTube channel 'Med School Insiders' titled - "Standing Desks More Harm Than Good?" Asks the question does the research on standing desks stack up.
The video author reviews over two dozen research papers in his research and offers a balanced an objective opinion weighing up the pro's and cons of using a standing desk versus sitting. He has used a standing desk for 5 years and speaks excellently on the subject.
The reality is that research is wildly under nourished on the subject, most research studies are retrospective and it's hard to determine exact physiological benefits to just using a standing desk alone. However as the video producer finds there are very real, demonstrable benefits to including a standing desk in your overall health plan and suggests integrating movement into your day to offset the negative side-effects of prolonged standing or sitting. Watch the video. it's fair, easy to watch and could help you decide if standing desks are for you.
The average office worker sits down more than an Old Age Pensioner. White collar workers are on their bottoms for an average of 9 hours a day healthcare studies show. That’s 540 minutes a day…a staggering 16425 minutes a month. Nearly 200,000 Minutes a year.
29% of us sit for up to half an hour daily on our way to work. Whilst a further 27% sit for up to an hour a day on their commute. We often then work sat down, take our breaks sat down, before commuting home on our bottoms. A third of us are then sitting between 4-6 hours in the evening and weekends.
After this? Well we go and have a lie down to go to sleep. Think about that for a moment. Can you section your day up from the moment you get out of bed and honestly say you’re not sitting for a massive proportion of it? Health experts vehemently agree that 9 hours a day (on average) is too much.
One study interviewed 2000 workers and found that 2/3rds of people didn’t consider themselves “happy” about the amount of time they spent sitting. 73 % of participants demonstrated musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck and shoulder pain.
Sitting is heavily associated with numerous illnesses. The NHS has written extensively about why sitting is bad for us, and they recommend at least 150 minutes a week doing exercise.
Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death.
Next year you have a choice to make. Are you going to be one the 2/3rds who aren’t happy with their sedentary lifestyle or are you going to join the growing number of people who are actively increasing their movement and integrating standing into their social and work lives to make their whole life longer, healthier and happier.
The beginning of a new year is great time to take stock and decide if you want to make some positive changes. Go ahead and set some goals. You could get a standing desk, or get an apple watch to remind you to stand, or just get out of your chairs and walk around. Whatever works for you, next year we urge you to simply GET UP.
The NHS has a helpful live well guide that is a road map for how you could be healthier at work. You can find it here.
Be your best version of you.
The Guardian have published a lengthy first person account of one writer’s lifetime struggle with back pain. The editorial in their ongoing “the long read” blog details writer Maggie O’Farrell’s reflections on living with chronic pain from spinal injury for many years.
An excerpt on Maggie’s life changing back pain;
“Don’t get me wrong: I consider myself to be an extremely lucky person. The doctors first said that I would die; when I didn’t, they said I wouldn’t walk again. To have recovered, to have found a loophole out of one of these destinies, let alone both, strikes me as the very best fortune a person could ever have.”
You can read Maggie's full editorial here.
Now we understand Maggie’s back pain is a result of injury and her telling of it brings to light one primary fact for us here at I Want A Standing Desk UK Blog. That fact is that back pain IS HORRIFIC to live with. Readers of Spine-Health.com voted back pain as being more painful that childbirth.
Now we can’t make every floor not slippery and we can’t wave a magic want to eliminate back pain from injury in fact the elderly have shown us that most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. However we can suggest to you that some of you are getting back pain from sitting way too much. We know many of you sit for 9 and half hours a day. In the UK alone back pain is the single most common cause of lost working days, with the costs running into billions of pounds. Each year 2 million people attend their General Practitioners with spinal problems and over 300,000 are referred for specialist care.
Lee Barker who is the principal physiotherapist at Alderbank Physiotherapy, in Grimsargh, near Preston, and was a member of the Olympic Physiotherapy Team 2012 explains here that standing up isn’t just good for your general health it is great for your back. He writes that the body was not designed to sit for such lengthy periods but we need to take the pressure off our vertebrae and reduce strain by standing more.
MD of iwantastandingdesk.com Nick White said “back problems are life stoppers (short and long term). Why wait to start looking after your lower back until you have a problem? People need to spend less time in the chair and more time stood correctly to feel the benefits immediately.”
Business insider writer Mathew DeBord this week has written about his change to a standing desk after a lifetime of sitting. He fashioned a home-made standing desk to test the process before he opts for a better more rigid solution. Now we see these all the time on social media, these are the modern equivalent of the breeze block bookshelf. However even with a modest setup the benefits were convincing for Mathew.
Mathews make-shift standing desk. Read Mathews full account here.
He writes about how using an Apple watch he is able to keep ahead of his standing reminders which new research has shown can add two years to your life expectancy.
“It's been a few months and I haven't looked back.”
Abraham The Pharmacist has created a video after using the Eiger standing desk
If you see an interesting account of someone talking, writing about or solving their problems with a standing desk please tweet it to us at @standingdeskuk
Do standing desks actually make us healthier? Abraham the Pharmacist tested out the Eiger Pro and brought some science to the table to try and answer the question.
Watch the video within and see Abraham shed some light on an 800,000 participant study by the NHS which found that increased sitting time equated to some startling stats including;
- 112% increase in risk of type 2 diabetes.
- 147% increase in cardiovascular events.
- 90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events.
- 49% increase in death due to any cause.
Abraham covers a number of studies regarding sitting and standing and explains that standing as a solution isn’t meant to be for long drawn out periods but instead is designed to be broken up with rest breaks and walking breaks. He reflects on the benefits of standing desks, calls for more studies and seems to have found his time with the Eiger agreeable.
Click the video to get his take.
Abraham describes himself as a “media pharmacist” He is a presenter, videographer + prescribing pharmacist and is contactable on twitter @abrahamthepharm or via his website www.abrahamthepharmacist.com
Sport England has called for a focus on children’s health after they conducted a world leading 130,000 participant survey into the activity levels of children and young people. The survey is the largest ever of its kind and contains results that detail how 2.3 million children do less than 30 minutes of activity each day.
The chief medical officer recommends at least 60 minutes of exercise a day for young people, the World Health Organisations recommends that at least 3 days a week that activity should be aerobic.
Chief Executive of Sport England Tim Hollingsworth said
“I am calling for a national focus on the health and wellbeing of our nation’s children and for the whole system to be united in delivering change. Our children deserve better and Sport England is determined to play its part,”
“Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity. This research is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a big wake-up call for all of us."
Meanwhile another survey of 2000 parents has demonstrated that mobile phones are edging out bikes, skateboards and roller-blades on children’s Christmas lists. Staggeringly 1 in 10 of the parents admit their children don’t even leave the house for a week at Christmas.
Whilse 3 in 10 youngsters get less than 30 minutes or less of fresh air daily, they get 3 hours of television and two and half hours on iPad, phones and computer games.
Tech is anchoring our children down and too many of them are not doing enough exercise or activity to keep them healthy. The World Cancer Research Fund recently detailed how their report demonstrated a link to 12 major cancers from increased screen time in children.
Jack Shakespeare of UKactive Kids said "movement has stripped out of our children’s lives with 'generation inactive' fed a staple diet of sofa play and screen time...It is vital for the health and happiness of this generation that we find ways to get children active."
Public Health England's head of diet, obesity and physical activity, Dr Alison Tedstone, added: “Physical activity is crucial for good physical and mental health of children and young people - this work is a timely reminder for everyone to do more to help them be more active.”
Nick White, MD of UK Standing Desk Manufacturer iwantastandingdesk.com said "Kids are becoming ever more sedentary and inactive, it makes sense to get them more active in the classroom and create a positive behaviour pattern to take into adulthood...entire schools in the US are becoming all standing with a view to seeding a culture of good health. This can only lead to happier, healthier children."
Given the recent reports that children’s lifespans are estimated to be 5 years shorter due to sedentary habits. The Sport England Survey encouragingly does demonstrate that 3 million children are getting enough activity, exceeding 60 mins a day but the Sports Minister Mims Davies says "the number of young people who are not doing enough is simply unacceptable...we must build a comprehensive and cross Government offer to create a truly active nation."
The biggest takeaway from the survey available here is that children benefit from activity. Their general happiness increases. Their mental health improves and as our recent report detailed they outperform inactive children. We owe it to all our children to raise the bar and get the UK up to speed when it comes to activity at home and in the class room.
Eiger Standing Desk School Trials Are Available Here