Tag Archives: childhood obesity

Taking a Literal Stand against Childhood Obesity

As September, and National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, draws to a close, it’s important that we all take a moment to reflect on where we stand thus far in the campaign against childhood obesity, and if we’re doing all we can to win the fight.

One of the key aspects of this epidemic is actually right in front of our noses: our children’s schools. And while initiatives to improve lunch programs is an important component to this campaign, nutrition alone is not going to go the whole distance to improving children’s health. Increasing physical activity and reducing sitting time are just as crucial.

There’s been growing concern that children are defaulting into sedentary lifestyles (i.e. long hours spent in front of the television, computer and playing video games) – what we should also be considering a threat is the amount of time spent sitting in today’s classroom.

In total, children likely spend over 6 hours a day seated in school. A recent study in the United Kingdom revealed greater than 50% of the seven- and eight-year old children sampled were sedentary for greater than 6.4 hours/day – with sedentary behavior comprising greater than 65% of their waking hours.

Teachers and schools, in order to promote better health and academic performance, are taking a stand – quite literally – deploying Ergotron’s LearnFit™ Standing Desks in the classroom. These desks incorporate more natural movement throughout the day. Access to the desks can help children burn more calories during classroom instruction, especially when other active opportunities are disappearing with school budget cuts – child development research shows that movement and learning are integrally linked.

The facts about Why Classroom Movement Gets an A+:

  • The part of the brain that processes movement is the same part of the brain that processes learning.
  • Exercise boosts brain power.
  • Movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to strengthen learning, improve memory and retrieval and enhance learner motivation and morale.
  • Studies indicate that concentration is lost after the fourth lesson of the morning, but challenging the vestibular or balance system has a tremendous effect on brain activity, renewing the ability to concentrate.
  • Activities that stimulate inner-ear motion, like swinging, rolling and jumping significantly improve attention and reading.
  • Physical activity increases blood flow, and hence oxygen, to the brain; oxygen is essential for brain function.

The preliminary results have been overwhelmingly positive in discovering more about the effects of prolonged sitting – in school and at home – on children’s overall health and well-being (see Belle Terre Elementary the first school in the United States into their second season with a classroom fully-equipped with our LearnFit standing desks).

To learn more about how we can all encourage healthier movement for children in our schools and homes, visit: http://juststand.org/.

 

What advice would you give your 15 year-old self?

431LogoSleep more? Eat less Cheetos? Get more involved? This is what an impressive lineup of speakers at the 431Project Summit in Vermont is sharing. But not only that…they are exploring ideas for reimagining the future–with a mission to make healthy “normal” for the next generation.

The event this week hopes to inspire attendees, speakers and sponsors to walk away with a commitment to bring change back to their communities, supporting today’s youth to lead healthier, more active lives.

One of the these speakers is Ergotron’s ergonomics and wellness research manager Carrie Schmitz (@giveafig). She shared insights and experience working with leading researchers and pioneer schools introducing students and teachers to adjustable standing desks.

“Whether you are five or fifteen, living a healthy life encompasses more than just the food in your lunch box or exercise on the playground,” said Carrie. “It isn’t so much about teaching kids how to move as it is allowing them to keep moving without stifling that natural energy outlet.”

Physical activity − exercise − stimulates neuron development in the brain. It is the only way to create new neurons in the brain according to Dr. Fred Gage. Throughout childhood the brain is mapping the body through movement. Keeping kids moving is key to learning.

The 431 Project has a vigorous journey ahead. Contact them at info@the431project.org to learn more or visit the 431project.org. You can also follow the event via #431action on Twitter.