Study on teens aims to reduce school sitting time

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Children from the Illawarra are being asked to participate in a unique Australian study that will investigate ways to reduce sitting time in the adolescent school day in order to increase energy, boost concentration and improve overall health.

The Early Start Research Institute at UOW is running the trial, which will involve fifteen adolescents, aged twelve to fourteen, spending two days in UOW’s state-of-the-art calorimeter room, which measures a person’s energy expenditure.

Dr Anne-Maree Parrish, a former nurse turned public health academic from UOW’s Faculty of Social Sciences, is leading the study. She said it is concerning how much time young people spend sitting.

“Australian adolescents spend 50% of their waking hours sitting. Recent research shows adolescent girls spend 50% of their school day sitting during the first two years at high school but this increases to 70% of the school day in the middle two years at high school,” Dr Parrish said.

Dr Parrish said the study would investigate ways to encourage kids to be more active during the day by reducing the amount of time they spend sitting at school.

“Increasing adolescents’ use of energy can have long term positive health benefits and may help them to concentrate more during class.”

Dr Parrish added that by making small changes to classroom environments, schools, parents and children alike could start seeing positive health results.

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“Small changes such as standing desks and breaking up sitting time could impact the health of large numbers of students,” Dr Parrish said.

To be eligible for the programs children must be above the healthy weight range for their age and gender.

More information:

Media contact: Interested participants and media, please contact Dr Anne-Maree Parrish, + 61 2 4221 5098

(Source: University of Wollongong)

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Date Created: June 25, 2014 Date Modified: July 1, 2014