Impacts of a Standing Desk Intervention within an English Primary School Classroom - 2020.pdf (382.53 kB)
Download file

Impacts of a standing desk intervention within an English primary school classroom: a pilot controlled trial

Download (382.53 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 07.10.2020, 14:03 by Aron SherryAron Sherry, Natalie PearsonNatalie Pearson, Nicola D Ridgers, Will JohnsonWill Johnson, Sally E Barber, Daniel D Bingham, Liana C Nagy, Stacy ClemesStacy Clemes
Traditional classroom furniture dictates that children predominantly sit during class time. This study evaluated the impact of providing standing desks within a deprived UK primary school setting over 8 months using mixed-method approaches. All children within a Year 5 class (9–10-year-olds, n = 30) received an adjustable sit–stand desk, while another Year 5 class (n = 30) in a nearby school retained traditional furniture as a control classroom. At baseline, 4 months, and 8 months, activPAL monitors (PAL Technologies, Glasgow, UK) were worn for 7 days to provide time spent sitting and standing. Behavior-related mental health, musculoskeletal discomfort surveys, and a cognitive function test battery were also completed at all three timepoints. Intervention experiences from pupils and the teacher were captured using focus groups, interviews, and classroom observations. At both 4 months and 8 months, multi-level models revealed a reduction in class time sitting in the intervention group compared to the control group ((β (95%CI) 4 months −25.3% (−32.3, −18.4); 8 months −19.9% (−27.05, −12.9)). Qualitative data revealed challenges to teaching practicalities and a gradual decline in behavior-related mental health was observed (intervention vs. control: 4 months +5.31 (+2.55, +8.08); 8 months +7.92 (+5.18, +10.66)). Larger trials within similar high-priority settings are required to determine the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of providing standing desks to every child in the classroom.


Aron P. Sherry: William Johnson and Stacy A. Clemes are supported by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre—Lifestyle theme. William Johnson is supported by a UK Medical Research Council (MRC) New Investigator Research Grant (MR/P023347/1). Nicola D. Ridgers is supported by a Future Leader Fellowship from the National Heart Foundation of Australia. Daniel D. Bingham and Sally E. Barber are supported by the National Institute for Health Research Yorkshire and Humber ARC (reference: NIHR20016), and the UK Prevention Research Partnership, an initiative funded by UK Research and Innovation Councils, the Department of Health and Social Care and the UK devolved administrations, and leading health research charities; weblink: https: //



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health








VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by MDPI under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at:

Acceptance date


Publication date


Copyright date









Dr Stacy Clemes. Deposit date: 6 October 2020

Article number