Bragging or just male positivity? The sex-dependent difference in research presentation
To overcome social stigma, the researchers emphasized that professors and instructors will have to take the lead in offering group breaks at specific times rather than suggesting students can get up any time they wish. They also recommended that professors encourage students to get up and move during their breaks; and suggested that university administrators establish policies that call for building more open classrooms and adding features such as adjustable desks.
The research was funded by the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center at UCLA, a campuswide effort to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and to promote wellness through education and research. For the study, moderators conducted eight focus-group interviews and guided discussions with 66 UCLA students, roughly half undergraduates and half graduate students. The researchers also interviewed eight faculty members. The researchers looked at how much students and faculty knew about the health risks of sitting, investigated whether the participants could avoid prolonged sitting in class, and gathered ideas for feasible solutions.
"We need to change the way we teach so that we can offer more standing breaks, create opportunities for in-class movement, and even change the built environment so that there's more room for moving around," Cowgill said.
But even though the study found that students and faculty were broadly supportive of making changes, Cowgill said he doubts people will, ahem, stand up against the status quo if there isn't also an effort to raise awareness about the health risks. Social norms and the physical classroom environment are barriers, but awareness is the biggest obstacle.
Cowgill said he was surprised to learn that many of the participants were not aware of the health problems that prolonged sitting can cause, even for people who are otherwise active. "Many people thought they would be fine if they also squeezed in a 30-minute jog, and that's just not what research shows us."
The researchers expect the study will shed light on misconceptions about the health risks of extended sitting, and help faculty and students learn the ways they can work together to stand up and stretch. Source:
University of California - Los Angeles Journal reference:
Cowgill, B. O., et al. (2020) Get up, stand up, stand up for your health! Faculty and student perspectives on addressing prolonged sitting in university settings. Journal of American College Health . doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2019.1661419 .
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