Bike desks help Mexican students learn while burning calories
Rows of sleek new school desks equipped with bike pedals are allowing students in Mexico to power through their class work while cranking out some light exercise, burning off calories in a country known for its alarming obesity rates.
For students at a high school just outside Monterrey, the new bike desks offer benefits beyond exercise.
"When we're physically active, it also helps keep us focused," said a 13-year-old student. The school currently features two classrooms fully decked out with the new desks, but the plan is to gradually add them to all 21 classrooms.
Sanjuanita Garcia, the school's principal, points to the bike desks' post-pandemic benefits, especially for boys more vulnerable to excessive weight gain.
Mexico has a high obesity rate, with more than a third of its population dangerously overweight and more than 75% at a greater weight than is considered healthy.
And as children age, many pack on the pounds. A recent national study showed about 8% of children under 5 were overweight or obese, which rises to almost 19% for kids 5-11 years old.
Large amounts of excess body weight during early years poses numerous dangers to children’s health, including increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, bone and joint problems, and asthma.
Most children do not outgrow weight problems acquired in early life, and obesity in adulthood is known to contribute to strokes, heart disease, and dementia.