Cycling desks allow students to exercise while they learn

A school has introduced bike-pedal desks to help students stay in shape during class. 

Public High School 24, near Monterrey, north-east Mexico, bought the desks after noticing an increase in obesity and anxiety among pupils returning to class after the pandemic. 

Principal Sanjuanita Garcia told Reuters: ‘After we got back to in-person classes, we began to observe lots of anxiety among our boys and how obesity shot up.

‘With this project, we’re trying to break down the problem.’

There are currently pedal desks in two classrooms, but they are set to be rolled out to the remaining 21 classes. 

One 13-year-old student said their concentration had improved since using the desks. 

They said: ‘When we’re physically active it also helps keep us focused. It’s actually incredible.’

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Mexico has a desperately high obesity rate, with more than a third of its population dangerously overweight and more than 75% at a greater weight than is considered healthy. 

Studies suggest that just under 10% of children below the age of five are obese, rising steeply to nearly 20% under the age of 11. 

It represents a relatively recent trend, beginning in the 1980s and widely attributed to the introduction of cheap, mass-produced processed food into the national diet.

Large amounts of excess body weight during early years poses numerous dangers to children’s health, including increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, bone and joint problems, fatigue and asthma. 

Most children do not outgrow weight problems acquired in early life, and obesity in adulthood is known to contribute to strokes, heart disease, and dementia. 

Mexico’s new cycling desks come from a company founded by Miguel Ortiz, who got the idea from a Canadian school.

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