Can't stand class? Now the whole class can stand - with a Kuze desk

05 May 2019 - 00:00 By SIPOKAZI FOKAZI

Chances are by now you have seen someone working at a standing desk.
The trend has gained popularity as research repeatedly shows that prolonged sitting has similar adverse effects to smoking and can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Now it is set to reach schools after Stellenbosch University researchers developed a height-adjustable sit-stand desk for pupils. They say the Kuze furniture not only helps to reduce the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle but improves alertness and academic performance.
Schoolchildren spend up to 95% of lessons sitting, and mismatched classroom furniture has been found to restrict optimal sitting posture.The Kuze desk, developed by physiotherapists Dominic Fisher and Quinette Louw, is adjustable to accommodate children's growth.The Western Cape education department said Kuze desks were under consideration as it began a project to review school furniture requirements for the digital age.
Louw said Kuze furniture had been patented in SA, with the intention of commercialising it. An international patent application had also been filed."We are exploring local partners who may be interested in assessing or implementing the Kuze at their schools so that the final modifications that we are planning can be considered," she said.After testing the desks at two Cape Town schools, HJ Kroneberg Primary in Kensington and Siyazingisa Primary in Gugulethu, researchers noted a decrease in the amount of sitting time and increased alertness in children.Siyazingisa teachers were so impressed with children's improved concentration levels during maths lessons that they decided to retain the Kuze desks.Pupil Lulama Madolo, 12, said he enjoyed the "freedom and flexibility" the desk provided."After sitting for a long time on a normal school desk it's easy seeing yourself dozing off as it restricts you when you are sitting in it, but with Kuze I simply stand if I feel drowsy, and that always leaves me feeling refreshed and improves my concentration levels," he said.Sikelela Thyala, 13, said being able to adjust the Kuze desk to his height meant his back and shoulders were always correctly aligned."When I write on the normal school desk I always have to bend down and that can make me very tired, but with Kuze I don't have to do that as it matches my height. I also find it easy to adjust as it is simple and easy to move around, he said.Louw said the Kuze "grows" with the child and can be used between the ages of three and 18.

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