Better sitting posture, better future: Part 1

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Problems caused by inappropriate sitting posture of adolescents
Most young people have various health problems due to improper sitting posture, and the important problem is that their seats are not standard.

I am a student from Fudan University, China. When I was sixteen years old, a friend of mine had serious back pain due to being sedentary and holding harmful postures, and eventually he stayed at home for half a year, which not only delayed his studies, but also prevented him from participating in strenuous activities. Many other students and I also thought that the school seats were contributing to this and inappropriate, so in 2017, some of my classmates and I formed an interest group to study the student seat problem and to propose solutions.

This blog wants to warn people to pay attention to children's sitting posture, for this problem is severe and may cause irreversible physical harm to children. We hope to design a proper model to serve as a solution, and we also hope to find a simple way to scientifically relieve fatigue and pain.

In China, nowadays, students generally have little exercise time, which means they have to sit in the chair for quite a long period of time [1]. According to our survey, being sedentary and wrong sitting posture leads to implicit muscle misstretching and skeletal development problems, which not only cause a strong sense of discomfort, but also serious harm to students. Some medical science reports have clearly proved that being sedentary too long can cause negative effects such as the inability to concentrate and hyperactivity disorder [2]. In addition, in the light of existed research and interviews, we found that spine disease is showing a younger trend [2].

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This picture points out that teenagers have many physiological problems because of bad sitting posture and long-term sitting posture.
This picture points out that teenagers have many physiological problems because of bad sitting posture and long-term sitting posture.

Through surveys and relevant news reports, our team also found that not only in China but also in many Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, India and so on, seats are not adjustable and crowded [3] .(The following pictures are from local websites or newspapers)

Students spend a long time in class, which means that in many Asian countries, students have to sit in a fixed position for a long time. This problem is not only faced by Chinese teenagers, but also has considerable urgency and international reach [4].

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Photo of an Indian Classroom(Poor)
Photo of an Indian Classroom(Poor)
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Photo of an Indian Classroom(Rich)
Photo of an Indian Classroom(Rich)
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A photo of a Japanese classroom
A photo of a Japanese classroom
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uncomfortable and unscientific student chairs
uncomfortable and unscientific student chairs

There are some researchers that recognized this as an important matter and wanted to solve it, but the common solution was to teach children the right sitting postures. However, according to my personal experience as a student, I find most of my classmates didn't take the initiative to sit upright strictly. Besides, on the basis of our survey, even adults can hardly keep the right postures (shown in the following chart) so I think we should change our mind to design a proper seat model to meet students' need and implicitly improve their sitting postures.

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online survery
The vast majority of respondents were adults.
Most people tilt their chairs in order to stay comfortable at school.
Most people sit for at least five hours a day.
Most people sit for at least two hours at a time.

So based on the existing data, we drew a sketch model of the general student seat, and compared it with the existing ergonomic seat model on the market, trying to find out why ergonomic student seats are difficult to be widely use in schools.

We have also consulted doctors, teachers, students and the salesmen who sell ergonomic seats in Shanghai. With reference to various perspectives, we believe that the reasons are as follows.

Firstly, the cost of promoting ergonomic student seats is too high.

Secondly, the traditional belief is that a child should maintain a proper sitting posture, which is a sign of a child's sensibility and upbringing.

Besides, classroom space and education resources are limited. Ergonomic chairs on the market occupy large areas, if the supporting facilities and mechanisms are not well equipped and mature, rash promotion will lead to waste of resources.

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Structural sketch of ergonomic seat 1
Structural sketch of ergonomic seat 1
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Structural sketch of ergonomic seat 2
Structural sketch of ergonomic seat 2

Based on these insights we have a preliminary ideas to resolve this. First, if it is possible, we should design a scientific seat suitable for classroom use. Secondly, considering that it still takes some time to update seats, students should be taught to learn how to use the seat comfortably, especially if students have to sit in chairs for a long time. 

 

This part mainly introduces the reasons, background, preliminary ideas and preparing work of our research on student seats. In the next part, we will focus on how to improve the seats in detail.

Reference
[1]朱秋丽,翟向明.中国儿童青少年2006-2015年闲暇静坐行为变化趋势[J].中国学校卫生,2019,40(6):827-830,834. DOI:10.16835/j.cnki.1000-9817.2019.06.011.
陈平.高校学生体质健康状况变化及其影响因素研究[J].时代教育,2018,(9):190. DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1672-8181.2018.09.136.
[2]何西庭. 腰椎间盘突出症病患的发病机制以及中医治疗研究进展[J]. 中国保健营养, 2017, 27(9).
[3]http://www.eol.cn/hubei/bfxy/201511/t20151104_1334694.shtml
www.dimensionsinfo.com/what-is-the-ideal-classroom-size
https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com/classroom-seating-arrangements/
news.cri.cn/gb/27824/2010/09/02/3365s2976904.htm
[4]陈蓉蓉. 基于维持健康坐姿的工作椅设计研究[D]. 浙江大学, 2007.
罗玉明, 唐晓阳, 刘显明. 引导青少年姿势和行为的学习桌椅设计指标探索[J]. 设计, 2013(6):26-28.
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