A study with good standing

The School of Kinesiology study was inspired by a Marine on St. Croix, Minn., teacher’s initiative.

Students, and elementary students in particular, can easily grow agitated being cramped up in a desk, waiting for the bell to ring. But a local teacherâÄôs experiment may have found a way to handle that problem. Abby Brown, a sixth-grade teacher at Marine Elementary in Marine on St. Croix, Minn. , uses special desks in her classroom that give students the option of standing up. ItâÄôs been quite popular with her students, and Dr. Beth Lewis , a professor in the University of MinnesotaâÄôs School of Kinesiology, is studying if the students expend more calories by standing rather than sitting. The outcome of the study could reveal long-term issues related to obesity if the students expend more calories while standing. Lewis said half of the students are instructed to stand for the majority of a week, while the rest of the students sit. Then the next week, the students switch. âÄúWeâÄôre just going to look if thereâÄôs a difference of calories expended,âÄù Lewis said. Researchers have been collecting data from about 50 students at Marine Elementary since the study began in early December, Lewis said. Eric Statt , one of LewisâÄô research assistants, has been gathering the data from the students and said researchers havenâÄôt been able to look at the data yet, but they hope to draw comparisons between obesity and the amount of calories expended while standing. âÄúWe need to find ways to impact the community,âÄù Statt said. The popularity of the standing desk has grown within Marine Elementary, Brown said. TheyâÄôre now being used in fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms, as well as other sixth-grade classrooms . Funding for the study came from a $3,700 grant from The Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement , an organization in the UniversityâÄôs College of Education and Human Development.