The effects of classroom-based dynamic seating interventions on academic outcomes in youth: a systematic review

  • Scott RolloEmail author
  • Lauren Crutchlow
  • Taniya S. Nagpal
  • Wuyou Sui
  • Harry Prapavessis


The purpose of this systematic review was to synthesise and evaluate the literature on the effects of classroom-based dynamic seating interventions on academic-related outcomes, among school-aged children and adolescents. A secondary aim was to examine the effects of interventions on students’ sedentary behaviour and physical activity levels. In September 2017, four electronic databases (PsycINFO, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science) were searched and a total of 5138 titles and abstracts were reviewed. Studies that examined associations between a classroom-based dynamic seating intervention and at least one academic-related outcome in school-aged children or adolescents were included. A best-evidence synthesis and narrative approach was implemented to synthesise the evidence. Thirteen studies published between 2003 and 2017 were identified that met the inclusion criteria for the review. There is some evidence that classroom-based dynamic seating interventions could have positive effects on the in-seat behaviour, academic engagement and attention of school aged-children and adolescents, predominantly those with attention difficulties. It is currently unclear whether dynamic seating has positive effects on students’ on-task behaviour, disruptive behaviour, memory, concentration or academic achievement. No intervention was found to have a detrimental effect on academic-related outcomes. The findings come from low-quality to moderate-quality studies (M = 60.62%; SD = 10.44). Classroom-based dynamic seating could be a simple, effective health strategy to reduce students’ static sitting time without compromising student learning and academic performance. The current interventions need to be replicated with larger, adequately-powered RCT designs, valid and reliable outcome measures, and assessment of intervention fidelity.


Academic achievement Classroom Classroom behaviour Cognitive performance Dynamic seating Intervention Sedentary behaviour Youth 



SR conceived the study. SR, LC, TN and HP contributed to the final design of the review. SR, LC and TN executed the study. SR, LC and TN extracted study data of the included studies. All authors had full access to all of the data (including findings and tables) in the study and can take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. SR, LC and TN prepared the first draft of the manuscript that was jointly interpreted and edited by the other authors (HP and WS). All listed authors contributed to and approved the final version of the manuscript. PROSPERO Registration Number: CRD42017077658.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory, School of KinesiologyThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation - Exercise and Pregnancy LaboratoryThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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