The effects of standing tutorial meetings on physical activity behavior in undergraduates: A randomized controlled trial

H Q Chim*, Pascal W M Van Gerven, Renate H M de Groot, Mirjam G A Oude Egbrink, Roy H J Erkens, Hans H C M Savelberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study explored the effects of using standing desks in tutorial meetings on the physical activity behavior (PAB) of undergraduate students. Standing desks have been introduced to minimize the detrimental health effects of prolonged sedentary behavior (SB). The effectiveness of using standing desks has not been explored among undergraduate students - a population showing high SB. Ninety-six undergraduate students were randomly assigned to a sitting or standing tutorial group that ran for nine weeks, and their PAB was monitored using the activPAL3 (TM) triaxial activity monitor. To check for potential compensatory or other covarying behaviors, the students' PAB was monitored on tutorial and non-tutorial days. PAB monitoring was conducted in week 4-5, and a follow-up measurement was conducted in week 9 to examine longer-term effects. In week 4-5, the stand group (n = 41) showed less SB (beta = -0.092, SE = 0.044, 95% CI: -0.179, -0.006) and more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (beta = 0.320, SE = 0.160, 95% CI: 0.004, 0.635) compared to the sit group (n = 36). On tutorial days, the stand group showed more light physical activity (LPA) than the sit group (p < .001, d = 1.04). In week 9, there was an exam on the last day of that week. Nonetheless, the stand group (n = 37) showed less SB < .001, d = 0.378) and more LPA = .008, d = 0.725), while breaking up prolonged SB more frequently (p = .007, d = 0.696) on the tutorial day compared to the sit group (n = 32). Overall, undergraduates attending standing tutorial meetings showed less SB and more LPA than those attending conventional, seated tutorial meetings. Standing tutorial meetings can contribute to a more active lifestyle for undergraduates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113294
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Activity monitoring
  • Education
  • Lifestyle
  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behavior


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