UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Indoor school environments, physical activity, sitting behaviour, pedagogy: scoping review


5 March 2015

Physical activity levels in children are low and sitting time high, despite the health benefits of regular physical activity and limited sitting. Children spend a large proportion of their time at school, hence school-based interventions targeting physical activity and sitting behaviour may be important. Whilst some aspects of school buildings, their layout and furniture may influence children’s physical activity and sitting, these effects could be intertwined with pedagogical approaches. This study is a scoping review aiming to identify gaps in published research regarding the influence of the indoor school environment on pedagogical approaches and on physical activity and sitting. The study found that, in primary schools, physical activity can be integrated into lessons with some benefits on academic behaviour and possibly academic performance. Overall, however, the role of the indoor built environment is poorly investigated, although a handful of studies suggest that a radical change in primary school classroom environments may increase physical activity and that stand-biased desks may be promising. This study provides a contribution to the emerging research fields of ‘active design’ from the perspective of indoor school design, highlighting a dearth of research, especially on sitting and for secondary education, and a lack of relevant conceptual frameworks.

Indoor school environments, physical activity, sitting behaviour, pedagogy: scoping review. Building Research and Information.

Ucci, M., Law, S., Andrews, R., Fisher, A., Smith, L., Sawyer, A., Marmot, A. (2015)

The full text of this article is not available through UCL Discovery.