The effect of secular trends in the classroom furniture mismatch: support for continuous update of school furniture standards.Ergonomics. 2015; 58(3):524-34.E
In order to create safer schools, the Chilean authorities published a Standard regarding school furniture dimensions. The aims of this study are twofold: to verify the existence of positive secular trend within the Chilean student population and to evaluate the potential mismatch between the anthropometric characteristics and the school furniture dimensions defined by the mentioned standard. The sample consists of 3078 subjects. Eight anthropometric measures were gathered, together with six furniture dimensions from the mentioned standard. There is an average increase for some dimensions within the Chilean student population over the past two decades. Accordingly, almost 18% of the students will find the seat height to be too high. Seat depth will be considered as being too shallow for 42.8% of the students. It can be concluded that the Chilean student population has increased in stature, which supports the need to revise and update the data from the mentioned Standard.
Positive secular trend resulted in high levels of mismatch if furniture is selected according to the current Chilean Standard which uses data collected more than 20 years ago. This study shows that school furniture standards need to be updated over time.