Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access


R. Guelfi, M. Conti, S. Zanfrini, M. Brunelli, G. Traina


In recent years people suffering of backache has significantly increased. This led us to focus our attention on the adequacy of school furniture for the correct development of the adult posture.
The standing posture of 67 students of middle school has been analyzed at the beginning and at the end of two consecutive scholastic years using a stabilometric platform. Starting from the second year, about half of the students were provided with the furniture designed following European standard (UNI EN 1729:2006), while the other half maintained the traditional one. The main purpose of this research has been to verify by means of posturometric analysis the effects on postural parameters of the use of traditional furniture in comparison to the furniture following the UNI EN 1729:2006.

We observed that prolonged sitting at school changes some posturometric variables of schoolchildren. Since no differences has been found between the two groups, the validity of the European standards is questioned.
The present study allowed us to single out four anthropometric parameters that should be considered in order to devise a new model of adjustable furniture. By adjusting every year the furniture of each student, it would be possible to avoid (at least at school) the adoption of wrong postural positions that could be responsible for backache and other common musculoskeletal disorders.


Posture; school children; school furniture; posturometric and stabilometric platform; anthropometric parameters.

Full Text:



Baharampour S., Nazari J., Dianat I., Asgharijafarabadi M. Student’s Body Dimensions in Relation to Classroom Furniture. Health Promot Perspect., 3: 165-174, 2013.

Baldini A., Nota A., Cravino G., Cioffi C., Rinaldi A., Cozza P. Influence of vision and dental occlusion on body posture in pilots. Aviat Space Environ Med.,84: 823-827, 2013.

Castellucci H.I., Arezes P.M., Viviani C.A. Mismatch between classroom furniture and anthropometric measures in Chilean schools. Appl Ergon., 41(4): 563-568, 2010.

CEN - European Committee for Standardization. prEN 1729 (2006/2012) Furniture - Chairs and tables for educational institutions - Part 1: Functional dimensions.

Chung J.W., Wong T.K. Anthropometric evaluation for primary school furniture design. Ergonomics, 50: 323-334, 2007.

Dal Zovo C. Valutazione sperimentale delle distribuzioni delle pressioni plantari. M.Sc Thesis. The University of Pisa, 2010. Available:

Fubini E. Ergonomia antropologica: la variabilità umana nelle interazioni uomo-sistemi tecnologici. Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2009.

Harreby M., Nygaard B., Jessen T., Larsen E., Storr-Paulsen A., Lindahl A., Fisker I., Laegaard E. Risk factors for low back pain in a cohort of 1389 Danish school children: an epidemiologic study. Eur Spine J., 8: 444-450, 1999.

Kandel E.R., Schwartz J.H., Jessell T.M. Principles of Neural Science (5th ed). McGraw-Hill Medical, 2000.

Kapandji I.A. Fisiologia Articolare (5th ed).Lucon, Maloine-Monduzzi, 1996.

Knight G., Noyes J. Children’s behaviour and the design of school furniture. Ergonomics, 42: 747-760, 1999.

Koskelo R., Vuorikari K., Hanninen O. Sitting and standing postures are corrected by adjustable furniture with lowered muscle tension in high-school students. Ergonomics, 50: 1643-1656, 2007.

Limon S., Valinsky L.J., Ben-Shalom Y. Children at risk: risk factors for low back pain in the elementary school environment. Spine, 29(6): 697-702, 2004.

Lin F., Parthasarathy S., Taylor S.J., Pucci D., Hendrix R.W., Makhsous M. Effect of different sitting postures on lung capacity, expiratory flow, and lumbar lordosis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil., 87: 504-509, 2006.

Murphy S., Buckle P., Stubbs D. The use of the portable ergonomic observation method (PEO) to monitor the sitting posture of schoolchildren in the classroom. Appl Ergon., 33(4): 365-370, 2002.

Oyewole S.A., Haightb J.M., Freivaldsc A. The ergonomic design of classroom furniture/computer work station for first graders in the elementary school. Int J Ind Ergonom., 40(4):437–447, 2010.

Panagiotopoulou G., Christoulas K., Papanckolaou A., Mandroukas K. Classroom furniture dimensions and anthropometric measures in primary school. Appl Ergon., 35: 121-128, 2004.

Parcells C., Stommel M., Hubbard R.P. Mismatch of classroom furniture and student body dimensions: empirical findings and health implications. J Adolesc Health., 24: 265-273, 1999.

Saarni L., Nygard C.H., Kaukiainen A., Rimpela A. Are the desks and chairs at school appropriate? Ergonomics, 50: 1561-1570, 2007.

Saarni L., Nygard C.H., Rimpela A., Nummi T., Kaukiainen A. The working postures among schoolchildren - a controlled intervention study on the effects of newly designed workstations. J Sch Health., 77: 240-247, 2007.

Saarni L.A., Rimpelä A.H., Nummi T.H., Kaukiainen A., Salminen J.J., Nygård C.-H. Do ergonomically designed school workstations decrease musculoskeletal symptoms in children? A 26-month prospective follow-up study. Appl Ergon., 40(3): 491-499, 2009.

Scoppa F., Capra R., Gallamini M., Shiffer R. Clinical stabilometry standardization: basic definitions--acquisition interval--sampling frequency. Gait Posture, 37(2):290-292, 2013.

Straker L., Briggs A., Greig A. The effect of individually adjusted workstations on upper quadrant posture and muscle activity in school children. Work, 18: 239-248, 2002.

Troussier B. Comparative study of two different kinds of school furniture among children. Ergonomics, 42(3): 516-526, 1999.

Watson K.D., Papageorgiou A.C., Jones G.T., Taylor S., Symmons D.P., Silman A.J., Macfarlane G.J. Low back pain in schoolchildren: the role of mechanical and psychosocial factors. Arch Dis Child., 88: 12-17, 2003.

Wingrat J.K., Exner C.E. The impact of school furniture on fourth grade children’s on-task and sitting behavior in the classroom: a pilot study. Work, 25: 263-272, 2005.

Yeats B. Factors that may influence the postural health of schoolchildren (K-12). Work, 9(1): 45-55, 1997.



  • There are currently no refbacks.