Childhood obesity is a public health concern with significant health and economic impacts.
I have written extensively on
- Improving your health through posture
- How sitting is killing our bodies slowly
- How to fix your posture to solve some of these problems
I believe that different ways to combat this sitting epidemic will include standing workstations being implemented at earlier stages of life as shown in this study on energy expenditure spent working while standing.
When we are looking at human beings as being in captivity (yes like the zoo) as desk jockeys we can see the demise of our health can be tightly associated with our sedentary lifestyles. Biomechanist Katy Bowman has written an excellent account, in Move your DNA, of our existence paralleled with the orca’s Flaccid Fin Syndrome.
“Trade floppy fins for bum knees, collapsed arches, eroded hips, tight hamstrings, leaky pelvic floors, collapsed ankles, you name it- and consider our load profile…loads we experience today differ hugely from loads people experience a hundred, thousand, and ten thousand years ago…wether out of convenience or ignorance, we have failed to address the habitat in which our genes dwell, and the impact in the way we move on the state of health.”
Get out of bed, sit to eat breakfast, sit and drive to work, likely sit at work, sit and work through lunch, sit and drive home, sit and eat dinner, sit and watch TV, lights out and lay down to bed. Sounds exhausting if you’re the spine.
New research suggests that putting standing desks in elementary school classrooms could be a way to get the upper hand on childhood obesity.
Kelly Starrett, who runs San Francisco CrossFit and the leader of the CrossFit Mobility Trainer Course, decided to intervene for his own kids sake. According to Starrett:
All you have to do is go into any classroom, observe the kids spines and you’ll be horrified,” and “If you know that sitting on an airplane crushes you,” he asked, “why is it OK for your kid to sit (all day in school)?”
Standing at school
Check out this excellent overview of implementing standing workstations in the schools. The children are given the option to sit or stand at these desks.
“Teachers also reported that students at stand-biased desks had an increased level of engagement during lecture time.”
I am not a big fan of calorie counting, see Gary Taubes’, Why Do We Get Fat? or Good Calories, Bad Calories . But pairing more movement with removing poor quality nutrient void foods can create a great synergy for optimizing the health of our kids. Recently the Mexican Government orders end to fried foods and sweets on school grounds in fight against childhood obesity.
What are we waiting for? We can choose to live a very poor lifestyle. It is our choice unfortunately the child who is obese and is pretty much guaranteed an adult life of obesity along with all that comes with it does not have that choice.
This is an area I am passionate and will begin to work hard to improve this for my kids and future generations to follow. Want to help? Contact me here.