Two group of children used to evaluate two different kinds of furniture


Most of the studies published on ergonomically designed furniture have been carried out with adults, usually within the office environment. The aim of this study was to evaluate two different kinds of furniture, JS's furniture and the ISO standard furniture for school children, in a real-life environment and on a long-term basis. 263 children aged from 8 to 11 years took part in this study for 4 or 5 years using the same school furniture.

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Two groups were selected according to the kind of furniture. Students answered a questionnaire focusing on back pain and subjective perception of the school furniture. No significant differences were found concerning the prevalence of back pain among the two groups. The features that were found to be significantly better, after multivariate analysis, with the ergonomically designed furniture were the writing position and the chair height, independently of the other subjective factors. A physical examination of the students was made after the interview, focusing on scoliosis, kyphosis and stiffness of the hamstrings and the lower back. No significant differences were found between the two groups. This study demonstrates that ergonomically designed furniture is preferred by the schoolchildren. However, there is no modification of the back pain prevalence and the students’ physical symptoms at this age. The findings of this study are in accordance with those of previous similar studies, but add the additional aspect of a significantly longer intervention period.

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