Mismatch of classroom furniture and student body dimensions: empirical findings and health implications

The Journal of Adolescent Health : Official Publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine
C ParcellsR P Hubbard

Abstract

To examine possible mismatch between the individual body dimensions of students and the classroom furniture they use. A total of 74 (37 male and 37 female) sixth-through eighth-grade students in a Michigan school district participated in the study; their ages ranged from 10 years, 11 months to 14 years, 3 months. Anthropometric measurements (including elbow height, shoulder height, upper arm length, knee height, popliteal height, buttock-popliteal length, and stature) were gathered in several physical education classes, each during a single session. In addition, the furniture dimensions were measured for three styles of chairs and three styles of desks prevalent in the students' classrooms. Based on both the information about student body dimensions and furniture dimensions, measures of fit or mismatch were constructed. The data indicate a substantial degree of mismatch between the students' bodily dimensions and the classroom furniture available to them. Fewer than 20% of students can find acceptable chair/desk combinations. Most students are sitting in chairs with seats that are too high or too deep and at desks that are too high. Even after controlling for body stature, girls are less likely to find fitting chairs. Based on ...Continue Reading

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