Degree of mismatch between anthropometric characteristics and school furniture in a sample of Spanish students aged 6-12 years old: A pilot study.Arch Argent Pediatr. 2021 12; 119(6):386-393.AA
School furniture affects the sitting position of students in the classroom, as well as their health and learning. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the existence of a potential mismatch between school furniture dimensions and students' anthropometric characteristics, as well as to propose dimensions based on classroom actuality and the regulations in place in both Galicia and the European Union.
Population and methods
An evaluator with experience in anthropometry measured weight, height, popliteal height, sitting shoulder height, and sitting elbow height using an anthropometer and then compared values with the chairs and desks currently used. Analysis techniques were descriptive (measures of central tendency), single-factor analysis of variance, t test, χ² test (using the SPSS® software), and effect size (Cohen's d test). The significance level was established at p ≤ 0.05.
The sample was made up of 108 Spanish children in primary school (aged 6-12 years). Of them, 91.7 % and 97.2 % use, respectively, a chair and a desk that do not adjust to their anthropometric characteristics and use furniture that is larger than what they need. The regulations for furniture dimensions currently in place for the studied population are not adequate because the chairs and desks included are not adequate for the first grades of primary school.
There is a high mismatch level between school furniture and students' anthropometric characteristics. We propose the use of the European regulations for furniture dimensions, with varying heights per grade or adjustable furniture that can be adapted to the anthropometric characteristics of all students.