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Ergonomics
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Definition of sizes for the design of school furniture for
Bogot schools based on anthropometric criteria
G. Garca-Acosta
a
; K. Lange-Morales
ab
a
Faculty of Arts, School of Industrial Design, Human Factors and Ergonomics
Laboratory, Ciudad Universitaria, National University of Colombia, Bogot
b
Ergofactos Ltd, Bogot
Online Publication Date: 01 October 2007
To cite this Article: Garca-Acosta, G. and Lange-Morales, K. (2007) 'Definition of
sizes for the design of school furniture for Bogot schools based on anthropometric
criteria', Ergonomics, 50:10, 1626 - 1642
To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/00140130701587541
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00140130701587541
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Denition of sizes for the design of school
furniture for Bogota schools based on
anthropometric criteria
G. GARCI

A-ACOSTA*{ and K. LANGE-MORALES{{


{National University of Colombia, Faculty of Arts, School of Industrial Design,
Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory, Ciudad Universitaria, Bogota
{Ergofactos Ltd, Bogota
The current paper deals with the denition of sizes for the design of school
furniture for schools in Bogota , Colombia, based on an analysis of available
anthropometric data on Latin American children. State-of-the-art anthro-
pometric, national and international standards were considered, in order to
dene the anthropometric variables that were to be used for dening the
furniture. Matrices relating age and specic anthropometric dimensions were
constructed, as a visualization method for establishing the dimensional
dierences between children of the same age and the ranges that should be
covered by the items of furniture. Dimensional data were grouped by
establishing the minimum sizes and general dimensions of furniture needed to
cover the 595
th
percentile of school children between the ages of 5 and 18
years. The distribution of the furniture in the dierent school grades was also
indicated. Apart from the need for an adequate match between child
anthropometry and school furniture dimensions, this study shows the
importance of a proper distribution of furniture sizes in the dierent school
grades, as a complementary and decisive aspect to be considered in order to
meet the heterogenic, anthropometrical requirements of children of the same
age and school grade.
Keywords: School furniture design; Anthropometry of Latin-American
children; Visualization matrices; Denition of sizes; Distribution of sizes
1. Introduction
This study was carried out in the second half of 2002 in Bogota , Colombia. A local
furniture company asked an industrial design company to design school furniture that
would meet the demand from public authority schools in Bogota . Since there are no valid
anthropometric data for Colombian children, the industrial design company hired the
*Corresponding author. Email: ggarciaa@unal.edu.co
Ergonomics
Vol. 50, No. 10, October 2007, 16261642
Ergonomics
ISSN 0014-0139 print/ISSN 1366-5847 online 2007 Taylor & Francis
http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
DOI: 10.1080/00140130701587541
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services of an ergonomics expert, to establish the dimensional parameters and sizes
that were to be used in the design of the furniture. Chairs, desks, bookcases and
blackboards for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 18 were requested.
Productive capacity and the technological state of the company were other important
parameters to be considered in the design and when the number of sizes was being
dened.
Based on available anthropometric data on Latin American children, the work of the
ergonomics expert concentrated on dening the groups of dimensional parameters on the
basis of population growth variables and age ranges. The general objective was thus to
cover dierent dimension ranges in children with standard sizes of furniture, aiming for
an appropriate anthropometric relationship and thereby helping achieve a comfortable
posture for the schoolchildren, and to reduce muscle-skeleton, visual and circulation
problems to a minimum.
2. Procedure
The study began with a review of national and international technical and regulatory
parameters relating to school furniture. After this review, the anthropometric variables
for the school furniture design were dened. Essential and signicant anthropometric
dimensions for the design of school furniture were established, and it was considered that
if there was an adequate correlation between the dimensions of the furniture and the
anthropometry of those who would use it, users would be able to assume a healthy
posture.
After these dimensions were established, a review was undertaken of available and
recent anthropometric tables for Latin American children. Data on Mexico (1999),
Cuba (1974), Chile (1998) and Colombia (2001) were considered. These tables were put
on a single spreadsheet, specifying source of data, type of furniture for which this
dimension was signicant, dimension, country, age, gender, percentile and standard
deviation.
Matrices relating age and specic dimensions (595
th
percentiles (P5P95)) were
constructed, with a view to comprehending the relationship between growth and
anthropometrical changes. As a result, dimensional data were grouped in order to
establish the minimum sizes of furniture needed to cover the dierent percentiles of the
target population.
Finally, three groups of recommendations were determined: design factors to be
considered in the design of the furniture, the minimum number of dimensional sizes to
cover the whole target population, and a table containing dimension recommendations
for each size and each furniture item.
3. Review of national and international standards and dimension criteria
Meeting national and international standards is part of the quality objectives of the
companies. Since this consultancy work was conceived in response to a question raised by
a manufacturing company, it was felt proper to begin with the review of those data.
Just one ISO standard associated with school furniture was found. ISO 5970:1979
Furniture chairs and tables for educational institutions functional sizes establishes
furniture heights for chairs and desks (ISO 1979). Mandals investigation (1984) suggests
that tables and chairs should be higher, considering amongst other things that a higher
sitting position produces a more upright posture. The Colombian Technical Standard
Denition of sizes for the design of school furniture 1627
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(NTC) helped with the denition of certain angular criteria. Other recognized, state-of-
the-art sources were considered, in order to complement the dimensional criteria
(Roebuck 1995, Farrer et al. 1994, Pheasant 1998, Mondelo et al. 2000). Table 1 shows
the furniture element, and the dimensional criteria dened for each element.
4. Anthropometric variables for school furniture design
Sitting posture depends mainly on three things: activity, dimensional relationships
between the anthropometry of the user and the dimensions of the objects involved in the
activity (Corlett 2006), in this case mainly chairs and desks, and individual postural
habits. Although in this case the emphasis is not on the activity analysis, two common
Table 1. Dimensional criteria and standards for furniture design.
Furniture item Dimensional criteria
Table height Minimum: Elbow height. Maximum: maximum shoulder
exion of 258 and a maximum shoulder abduction of
208 (Chan and Anderson 1991) The maximum desk
height acceptable for an individual student can also be
determined by the students shoulder height and vertical
elbow height, using the formula proposed by Parcells
(Parcells et al. 1999)
Minimum table height. Minimum
thigh clearance
Thigh height with 908knee exion2 cm (Mandal 1981)
Maximum depth of desk table Maximum frontal reach (acromion-st) 10%
Minimum desk table width Shoulder width, maximum distance between elbows.
Squires areas can be applied (Farrer et al. 1994)
Minimal width under table, transverse
space
Hip width7 cm (Farrer et al. 1994)
Seat height Popliteal height (Molenbroek et al. 2003)
Seat depth Buttock-popliteal length (Chan and Anderson 1991)
Eective seat depth, determined from
backrest position
Buttock-popliteal length
Seat width Hip width
Eective height of backrest Lumbar height (Lh) and subscapular height (Sh)
Sh - Lh Eective height of backrest
Backrest width Distance between elbows.
Free movement of the arms must be allowed, due to
activity characteristics.
Backrest curvature radius 500 mm (Icontec 2000)
300 mm minimum (Farrer et al. 1994)
Lower height of backrest, lower edge Elbow height
Middle height of backrest measured
from the seat
Lumbar height
Top point of backrest Subscapular height
Seat slope (backwards) 28 to 38 (Farrer et al. 1994)
08 to 38 (Icontec 2000)
08 to 48 (International Organisation for Standardisation
1979)
Backrest slope (backwards) 1008 horizontal axis (Icontec 2000) (Mondelo et al. 2000)
958 to 1068 (International Organization for
Standardization 1979)
1008 to 1048 (Sanders and McCormick 1993)
1008 to 1058 (Farrer et al. 1994)
1628 G. Garca-Acosta and K. Lange-Morales
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features of a normal school environment should be mentioned: Firstly, the sitting posture
is maintained for long periods, while listening to, writing and reading information at
dierent distances (Briggs et al. 2004, Milanese and Grimmer 2004). Secondly, dynamic
work is also frequently done: round tables or group work demand furniture adjustment,
i.e. exibility (Stoecklin 1999).
All interactions between furniture and the human body generate a specic postural
condition. For example, a mismatch between elbow height and desk table height
generates a postural imbalance: When it is too low, excessive exion of the spine
results; and when it is too high, there is excessive exion and abduction of the
shoulders.
To initiate the design process, dimensions were classied in three groups: general,
essential, and signicant variables (Franky-Rodr guez 1999). This classication was done
specically for the design of school furniture and does not pretend that some anthro-
pometric measurements are per se more important than others. It was a response to a
practical issue, namely to make it easier for the design team and the furniture company to
carry out a progressive decision-making activity during the design process.
Those dimensions that did not directly determine the structural dimensions of the
furniture, but were useful for understanding the dynamics of the human body when it
interacts with the furniture or provided valuable information for arranging or positioning
the furniture, were called general anthropometrical variables. Stature and maximum
frontal reach are two examples.
The boundary for dening which dimensions were essential and which were
signicant was more subtle. On the one hand, those dimensions which guaranteed
the minimum principles of postural comfort were called essential variables. If those
dimensions were not considered, the design team could not properly dene the general
dimensions and proportions of the furniture. The number of sizes of each item in the
furniture system was based on essential dimensions. Popliteal height and elbow height
are two examples.
On the other hand, signicant variables were those dimensions which added
additional advantages in terms of postural comfort. They provided more information
about the interaction between furniture items or about points which improved
postural comfort, giving the design team, rather than a xed dimension, a sphere of
action in which design decisions like the shape and location of a particular item of
furniture could be made. Thigh height and hip width are two examples. These general,
essential and signicant anthropometrical variables are shown in table 2.
5. Review of Latin American anthropometric data
Only a few anthropometric studies have been undertaken of Colombian children, and
these have had dierent objectives. One of them aimed to identify early manifestations of,
and factors associated with, chronic diseases in the upper age ranges in the registered
school population of Cali (Gracia et al. 2003). The anthropometric measurements
considered in this study were no use for furniture design. Another study dealt with the
measurements of children in an area of Bogota (Ruiz-Ortiz 2001). However, on the one
hand, this study does not consider all the anthropometric measurements considered in
table 2 to be signicant for the design of school furniture. On the other hand, it only
considers children between the ages of 5 and 10, and in one area of Bogota where social
and economic conditions are not representative of the whole city. It was therefore
necessary to consider other valid information. Data from other Latin American countries
Denition of sizes for the design of school furniture 1629
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were chosen because, although there are dierences between each region, there are
also major similarities in life styles, ethnic origin and history, and social and political
development.
The anthropometric surveys considered in the review were the following: Chile, carried
out in 1998, sample size 4611, age range from 6 to 8 years (Avila-Chaurand et al. 2001);
Colombia, carried out in 2001, sample size 500, age range from 5 to 10 years (Ruiz-Ortiz
2001); Cuba, carried out in 1974, 1975 and 1977, sample size 13 999, age range from 6 to
18 years (Avila-Chaurand et al. 2001) and Mexico, carried out between 1993 and 1999,
sample size 6978, age range from 2 to 17 years (Avila-Chaurand et al. 2001). The
anthropometric measurement methods used for each data set were considered. In all
cases, with the exception of the data from Chile, measurements were made without shoes
(Avila-Chaurand et al. 2001). It was therefore necessary to adjust the body height and
popliteal height given in the Chilean table by deducting 3 cm, as being equivalent to the
heel of a shoe.
Table 2. List of anthropometric variables considered for furniture design.
Type of
parameter
Anthropometric
dimension Application
Standing
Essential Elbow height Should be used when dening the height of laboratory
worktables.
General Stature (body height) Useful for dening, grouping and characterising the
population and the dimensional trend of the remaining
body segments in relation to furniture items.
Sitting
Essential Popliteal height This is decisive for dening seat height, with both feet kept
on the oor. Other studies into the anthropometric
design of school furniture argue the importance of
popliteal height in the denition of module classes
(Molenbroek, and Kroon-Ramaekers 1996)
Essential Buttock-popliteal
length
This is used for establishing the maximum seat depth that
a chair can have. It is also used for establishing the
depth of the backrest.
Essential Elbow height Useful as a reference for determining desk table height.
Signicant Lumbar height Useful for dening the backrest. Unfortunately, this
dimension is normally not registered, since it is dicult
to nd it as a bone point.
Signicant Thigh height This is used for dening the minimum height of the under
part of the working surface. There must be a free space
between the table and the thigh. There must always be a
space between the table and the thigh in order to permit
movement of the legs.
Signicant Hip width Useful for determining the minimum width of the seat.
Signicant Shoulder width This allows the minimum space between each schoolchild
to be dened, if duplex chairs are being designed.
Signicant Subscapular height This is useful for dening the height of the upper edge of
the backrest, to allow free movement of upper segments.
General Shoulder height This has no direct relationship with the furniture. The
height of the chair backrest should not exceed this
dimension. Used by Parcells et al. (1999) to establish
acceptable maximum desk height.
General Maximum
frontal reach
This measurement can help to dene the working area of
the work surface. It allows Squires areas to be dened.
1630 G. Garca-Acosta and K. Lange-Morales
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6. Data analysis and correlations
All tabulations were written on a single Microsoft
1
Excel
1
spreadsheet, and the
following data were taken into consideration: source of data, type of furniture for which
this dimension was signicant, dimension, country, age, gender, P5, P50, P95 and
standard deviation. Using personalized lters, trends in all the available data were
compared for each dimension and each age. For example, to establish the popliteal height
trend in 8 year-old children, the anthropometric popliteal height and age 8
measurement lters were activated. From the obtained data, the minimum value for P5
and the maximum value for P95 were identied, establishing the dierence between the
two percentiles, i.e. the range that should be covered. It is important to note that,
although some studies concerned with anthropometrical dierences between genders
concluded that there are signicant sex dierences in relationships between height and
other body dimensions (Jeong and Park 1990), a distinction between them was not made,
since all school groups in schools in the Bogota region have boys and girls together in the
same classroom, and to do a gender distinction in the furniture design was impossible for
practical purposes and eects.
Based on the general trend, the results were put in matrices, showing the relationship
between anthropometric dimension and age. By way of example, gures 1 and 2 show the
results for body height and popliteal height. These matrices were used as a visualization
method for establishing the dimensional dierences between children of the same age and
the ranges that need to be covered by the items of furniture.
The analysis showed that anthropometric dierences between the P5 and the P95
gures did not reduce with age, as the furniture company believed. On the contrary, the
dierences increased with growth. As a result, there could be teenagers with a height of
less than 150 cm and others over 180 cm in the same classroom.
The anthropometrical height, buttock-popliteal length and subscapular height
dimensions presented a growth trend up to the age of 16. After that age, the P5 and
P95 gures did not increase signicantly with age.
With respect to popliteal height, as shown in gure 2, there is a relative linear growth
trend in schoolchildren between the ages of 5 and 13. After this age, the increment in
popliteal height falls signicantly. Nevertheless, the greatest dierences between the P5
and the P95 gures occur in teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, where the dierence
is almost 15 cm. This makes it clear that it is a mistake to dene size based on age, as
there can be important anthropometric variations between two schoolchildren of the
same age, and at the same time, two pupils of dierent ages can have similar anthro-
pometric dimensions.
It is important to note that the only measurement where a dierent trend was revealed
was hip width. In this case, the linear growth trend is maintained from the beginning to
the end of the age range observed. As shown in gure 3, a dierence of 15 cm between the
P5 and P95 gures was found.
7. Denition of dimensional groups for each furniture item
One of the aims of the furniture company was to establish the smallest number of sizes, in
order to reduce production costs. Before this consultancy work began, they had already
determined that just four sizes would be sucient to cater for the entire school
population. Moreover, the initial concept proposed that the upper grades should use just
one size of furniture, on the grounds that they had already reached their adult height.
Denition of sizes for the design of school furniture 1631
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1632 G. Garca-Acosta and K. Lange-Morales
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Denition of sizes for the design of school furniture 1633
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1634 G. Garca-Acosta and K. Lange-Morales
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The data analysis concluded the opposite. On the one hand, more than four sizes were
needed, in order to achieve an adequate anthropometric relationship, and on the other
hand, the anthropometric dierences between P5 and P95 were greater in the upper
grades than in the lower ones.
In order to meet both criteria, namely the anthropometric needs of the school
population and the productive challenges of the furniture company, the design proposal
was oriented towards reducing the number of dierent parts in each piece of furniture,
while achieving the number of sizes needed through dierent combinations of those
parts.
The minimum number of chair sizes was dened as a result of discussions about the
relevance of popliteal height with the furniture company and the design group. Taking
popliteal height as the most important variable for determining school chair dimensions,
the sizes and seat heights proposed by the company were compared with general popliteal
height trends in the anthropometrical tables considered. By locating the four sizes of
current chairs in the comparison matrix, it was established that the distribution of sizes,
following the linear progression size 1 3 cmsize 2, and so on, could not cover the P5
to P95 dimension range of the target population equitably. The smallest size was too large
for the smallest children, and the largest size was too small for the biggest schoolchildren.
A broader distribution of the initial four sizes was also ruled out, because the dierences
between each size would be too big, and would cause postural discomfort in a large part
of the school population.
An analysis of the popliteal height comparison matrix established that six was the
appropriate minimum number of sizes for covering the target group. The criteria were
that the feet should always be able to touch the oor and that the angle between the lower
leg and the vertical should not exceed 308. A similar criterion was also used by
Molenbroek et al. (2003). It was suggested that two sizes of chair be used in the lower
grades, and three in the upper grades.
In the case of the desk table, four sizes were proposed, but with an allowance for
working surface height to be adjusted to three dierent positions. Each working surface
could be set at three heights, where the highest position of the smallest size coincided with
the lowest position of the next size. With this design concept, nine working surface
heights could be obtained by incorporating a simple three-point mechanism. Although
this solution does not oer full adjustment of the furniture, it certainly represents a
practical approach to the issue, and also ts the cost requirements of the furniture
companies. This concept has other advantages, such as simplifying the desk table
distribution process in the classroom, because in most cases just one size of table was
enough to meet the needs of children in a given group. The possibility of arranging all
tables at the same height when group activities are being done could also be considered to
be another signicant advantage. These characteristics are in line with equitable use and
exibility inclusive design principles (Stoecklin 1999).
The dimensions for each size were dened on the basis of the dimensional criteria
specied above in table 1 and the anthropometric trends for each relevant schoolchild
dimension. The dierent possibilities were analysed using the visualization matrices, and
an attempt was made to establish how the whole school population could be covered with
the minimum number of possible sizes. With chair seat height, as explained above, the
analysis showed that a minimum of six sizes were needed to meet the anthropometric
requirements of children between the ages of 5 and 18.
Figure 4 oers a comparison between the present sizes used in schools and the
seat heights proposed in this study. As can be seen, and considering for the moment
Denition of sizes for the design of school furniture 1635
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just seat height versus popliteal height, the present chair sizes are suitable just
for children between the ages of 7 and 12, and teenagers whose popliteal height is
less than 42 cm, a gure that does not represent even 50% of students over the
age of 14. The biggest chair size is too low for teenagers whose popliteal height
is more than P50. With sizes A to F, on the other hand, it is possible to cover a greater
spectrum and meet the anthropometric requirements of children between the ages of 5
and 18.
As shown in table 3, although six sizes are proposed, only three sizes of backrest are
suggested, with just the vertical position from the seat varying in each size. This simplies
the chair production process and reduces production costs.
P95 of hip width was used as the basis for determining seat width, in an attempt to
cover the rest of the target population. Figure 5 shows how the sizes proposed meet the
requirements of each student group.
Figure 6 shows how the four table sizes proposed meet the anthropometric
requirements of the target population.
With the sizes specied in tables 3 and 4, the range between P5 for the smallest pupil
and P95 for the largest pupil can be covered. It is important to note that it is common in
schools to nd a three-year age range of children in the same classroom. Class 1 has
children from 5 to 7, class 2 from 6 to 8, and so on. This is worse in the upper grades,
where a ve-year range can be found, since teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 can
be in the same grade. A very heterogeneous anthropometric situation exists in this latter
case, and makes it dicult to standardize on furniture.
Table 3. Chair sizes, general dimensions proposed for each size.
Size
To be used in school grades Seat (mm) Backrest (mm)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Height Depth Width
Height
from seat Height Width
A x 250 230 250 120
150 250
B x x 280 270 280 130
C x x x x 310 310 320 140
170 320
D x x x x x x x x x 350 350 360 160
E x x x x x x 390 390 400 180
200 400
F x x x x 440 390 440 200
Table 4. Desk table sizes, working surface height proposed for each size.
Size
To be used in school grades Height (mm)
Can be used
with chair
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Minimum Intermediate Maximum A B C D E F
1 x x 400 440 480 x x
2 x x x x x x x 480 520 560 x x x
3 x x x x x x x x x 560 600 640 x x
4 x x x x 640 680 720 x x
Denition of sizes for the design of school furniture 1637
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1638 G. Garca-Acosta and K. Lange-Morales
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8. Discussion
Although the review of Latin American anthropometric data were valuable in developing
an answer that would meet productive sector demand, it is also clear that there is a need
for complete anthropometric data for each country. Another discussion point is the
validity of anthropometric data that is more than 20 years old, in view of the changes in
body size that have occurred during this same period (Smith and Norris 2000, 2004).
Studies which obtain and apply body measurements for specic cultural and ethnic
groups, such as the ones performed in Iran (Mououdi and Choobineh 1997) and Mexico
(Prado-Leon et al. 2001), must be encouraged, since that information forms the basis for
ensuring that more appropriate items of school furniture are provided. In the specic case
of Colombia, there is a need for a national anthropometry survey, one which species the
individual geographical regions, since there can be important dierences in ethnic
dominance and nutrition habits.
It is impossible to meet all the anthropometric needs of a particular school grade with
just one size of furniture, unless it is fully adjustable, especially in the upper grades where
anthropometric dierences are greater, yet school administrations tend to use just one
size of furniture. In this sense, evaluations of the relationship between school furniture
and child body size (Parcells et al. 1999, Bich 2003, Legg et al. 2003, Panagiotopoulou
et al. 2004, Gouvali and Boudolos 2006, Chung and Wong 2007) are of great value in
understanding the present mismatch that can be found between school furniture and
schoolchild anthropometry.
Prior to this study, school furniture distribution was based on the grades of the
respective schoolchildren. For example, classes 1, 2 and 3 used size 1, classes 4, 5 and 6
size 2, classes 7, 8 and 9 size 3, and classes 10 and 11 size 4. The study made it clear that
the anthropometric dimensions within a school grade are not homogeneous. Moreover,
dispersion in the upper grades is greater than in lower grades. After this study, the use of
dierent sizes in the same classroom, to meet the demands of heterogeneous
anthropometric groups was considered. However, literature that deals with the furniture
distribution problem in the dierent school grades was not found. As shown in the
Milanese and Grimmer (2004) study, the quartile of students that were furthest from the
best t of the school furniture suered major spinal symptoms. But even if an
appropriate size system is developed and used, how can just one xed school furniture
size t the requirements when such a heterogeneous anthropometry can be found in one
single school grade? The mismatch is especially evident in one of the most important
variable, seating height, in view of the broad dierences that can be found in the popliteal
height of children of the same age: up to 14 cm, for example, in schoolchildren aged 14,
according to the anthropometric data considered in this study. It is important that
distribution of more than one size is considered when furniture is being assigned. This is
strongly supported by the work and positive results presented by Kane et al. (2006). A
better distribution of furniture can also lead to a reduction in the risk factors that can
result in muscle and skeleton disorders.
The question of size denition and size distribution based on anthropometry, apart
from its relevance to the specic design of school furniture, also plays a role in issues like
the biomechanical impact of the notion of comfort (De Looze et al. 2003) and the
biophysical impact of information technologies (Briggs et al. 2004, Sommerich et al.
2007).
The current study has made some useful contributions. It has identied dimensional
parameters that can be used as a basis for designing school furniture. In this sense,
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popliteal height is considered to be the most important variable when dening the
number of school chair sizes (Molenbroek et al. 2003). The views of educational
authorities were changed, making them appreciate that there is a need to think not just of
ages but of anthropometric needs when they are dening and distributing school
furniture. It has highlighted the eort to nd common ground between the interests and
challenges of the production system and the ergonomic needs of the schoolchildren. It has
also shown that in the upper grades the need for dierent sizes is greater than in the lower
ones, which contradicts the general trend of oering these teenagers just one size and that
furniture size distribution is important, apart from the adequate anthropometrical match
of the sizes themselves.
Finally, it cannot be forgotten that dimensional compatibility is just one factor in the
generation of these problems. Bad postural habits and a lack of education in teachers and
students as far as ergonomic postural principles are concerned increase the risks already
mentioned. Therefore, as in every ergonomic action that really aims to succeed and to
generate positive long-term changes, the introduction and distribution of this furniture
must be viewed as a health promotion programme, one which includes the training of
administrative personnel, teachers and students (Knight and Noyes 1999), the respective
indicators for measuring eects, and feedback mechanisms so that a system of continuous
improvement can be established. In line with this, strategies such as the one proposed by
Trevelyan and Legg (2006) may contribute to understand and develop more holistic
approaches, i.e. solutions.
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