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Class keeps kids moving as new study finds prolonged sitting has health impact

Posted at 3:03 PM, May 14, 2019

New numbers show Americans are sitting more than ever. Sitting too much is linked to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and even early death.

Researchers found the habit is starting young. However, this 5th-grade classroom is doing something different to keep students moving.

The students in this classroom have no assigned seats. They can sit wherever they like, including on couches, wobble chairs and standing desks.

For students Maleah Carino and Sterling Dufiur, they’re glad they're not stuck behind a desk.

“It's not comfortable, and I don't think you get as much work done,” says Dufiur. “It's just like when you're working at a desk all day you don't feel motivated to keep on working. But when we're sitting at a spot that we really like, we went to work the whole entire day.”

The teachers at Antelope Ridge Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado say the seating not only keeps students engaged, but active.

“They're bouncing, they’re moving and standing; I think [it] just gets their blood flow and oxygen moving as well,” says 5th-grade teacher Lyndsey Eshelman.

Movement is more important than ever. A new study from JAMA found Americans spend a lot of time sitting. Adults average about six hours a day and it’s roughly eight hours for children.

Computers play a big part. Children who spent more than an hour a day in front of a computer screen jumped from 43 percent to 56 percent. Adolescents increased from 53 percent to 57 percent.

Experts say students who break up sitting with movement get real health benefits. Additionally, it makes class time a whole lot cooler.

“It's a joy to be in here, and the kids feel it,” says Eshelman. “We could we feel it. It's just the best for everybody around.”