Anthropometric-based school furniture design for Ethiopian secondary school students
Authors: Samuel Mekonnen, Tebello Pusetso, Hui Lyu, Ugwueke Emmanuel
Abstract: Students take part in one of the most sedentary occupations. They spend an average of 5-8 hours in school daily. About 80% of this time, they sit in the classroom doing activities such as reading, writing, and communicating. It has been suggested that schools are places where students develop their permanent sitting habits (M. S. Parvez, et al, 2018). The mismatch between students and school furniture dimensions has been associated with adolescent low back pain (Milanese & Grimmer, 2004). Therefore, suitable and comfortable school furniture for students is necessary. Although many developed countries have proposed school furniture dimension guidance, developing countries and most least-developed countries still lack the support of an anthropometric database for school furniture design. Therefore, this study aims to fill this gap by establishing an anthropometric database of secondary school students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, investigating the mismatch between students' anthropometric dimensions and current school furniture dimensions, and providing recommendations for secondary school furniture dimensions.MethodSample selection Two hundred secondary school students (85 (42.5%) male and 115 (57.5%) female) from two secondary schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, were recruited in this study. Every 25 subjects were randomly selected from each grade in each secondary school using the cluster sampling method. The mean ± SD age and body height were 17 ± 1.4 years and 5.4 ft ± 0.3 ft respectively. The sample size was set according to suggestions from World Health Organization that 200 is the minimum sample size used for building reference standards (WHO, 1995). Before testing, all subjects were instructed about the contents of the experiment and provided their consent.Data treatment and Analysis Body dimensions, including stature, sitting height, knee height, popliteal height, and thigh clearance, were measured using metallic tape. Data were presented with mean, standard deviation, and percentile base for the 5th, 50th, and 95th percentile values. Based on the percentile values of anthropometric dimensions of subjects and furniture dimensions, combinational formulas of furniture dimensions were set. The mismatch is determined if the calculated value of the critical dimensions is outside the interval quantity (Gouvali et al., 2006).ResultThe results of this study show that the chairs and tables of secondary schools in Addis Ababa were poorly designed without considering the anthropometric features of students. Most students sit in chairs with a seat that is too tight and without a backrest, which may cause health problems such as back pain in the long term. Therefore, we proposed three sets of acceptable furniture dimension range for the secondary school students in Addis Ababa, which may be helpful as a reference for school furniture design, and subsequently improve students’ comfort and health in school.
Keywords: Secondary school students, Anthropometric data, School furniture design, Ethiopia
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