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K-State Today

June 14, 2016



Kinesiology student seeks research funding through Experiment.com

By Sarah Hancock

Bradyn Nicholson doesn't like to sit still. The senior kinesiology major also is interested in fighting childhood obesity. Taken together, these things add up to a research project to bring adjustable desks to an elementary school classroom to measure their impact on sedentary behavior.

Nicholson found support through an undergraduate research grant from the K-State Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry, and the Manhattan school district is interested in accommodating her project. The problem is that the desks are expensive. Nicholson is using a research crowdfunding site, Experiment.com, to fund purchase of the desks so the study can move forward. Her $6,781 funding campaign, "The Impact of Sit-to-Stand Desks in an Elementary School Classroom: A Controlled Trial," will be available for 30 days starting June 13. The site includes a summary of her project and details about its goals and significance. Anyone can back projects through Experiment.com. Funders receive progress updates on projects as well as information about data and results.

Nicholson thinks adjustable desks will prove to be a positive addition to the classroom environment. Students become comfortable using them after a brief period. Teachers don't have to adjust the curriculum by finding ways to add physical activity to lessons, and standing more often helps students build good habits for now and later on in life.

"Whenever you have an environment that positively influences health, it becomes normal to you," Nicholson said. "These kids will get used to it, and it will be normal. We just need resources in the environment that allow them to move."

If she is successful in funding her project, Nicholson will move forward with necessary approvals so she can use them in a local elementary school classroom this fall.

Sara Rosenkranz, assistant professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health in the College of Human Ecology, is working with Nicholson and said she's a promising young researcher.

"When Bradyn approached me with her idea to help reduce sedentary behavior in a classroom within the Manhattan community, I was very impressed. She had a solid idea grounded in scientific evidence combined with a passion to help children achieve better health and educational outcomes in her own community. As a mentor, you can't really ask for more than that," Rosenkranz said.