COLLEGE STATION, TX (CBS) – Childhood obesity is a major public health concern, but new research shows something as simple as changing a child’s desk could help them avoid becoming overweight.

Researchers at Texas A&M’s Health Science Center School of Public Health say they found that using stand-biased desks in elementary school classrooms could help kids stay fit.

The desks are positioned higher than a regular desk and come equipped with a stool for when children want to sit.

According to researchers, 500 kids participated in the study and either used the standing desks or regular desks in College Station district elementary school classrooms. Using Sensewear devices, scientists were able to measure the students’ step count and energy expenditure over five consecutive school days.

Researchers say students at the standing desks burned about 15 calories more per minute than those at regular desks. Obese children fared even better, increasing their calorie use by 25%.

Furthermore, “teachers also reported that students at stand-biased desks had an increased level of engagement during lecture time,” says Mark Benden, Ph.D., CPE, associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health and a researcher on the study.

The hope is that standing desks could help to cut childhood obesity rates without impacting classroom learning.

You may also be interested in these stories: