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School chairs and desks 'causing back problems'

Most school chairs and tables are causing posture problems for pupils which can develop into back problems in later life, experts have warned.

Backward-sloping chairs, although conveniently stackable, are putting children at increased risk of developing back pain.

Flat desktops are also having a detrimental affect on the posture of young people, according to the Irish Society of Alexander Technique Teachers (ISATT). The technique shows people how to improve general health by improving posture.

Richard Brennan, spokesperson for ISATT, said educational authorities are failing to recognise that school furniture can cause children's health to suffer.

He said standard chairs and flat desks used by children at school forced them to lean forwards, with their back in a stoop.

He has advised the National Standards Authority of Ireland on school chairs and a revised standard is expected to be issued within two years.

Sarah Compton, who teaches the Alexander Technique and who is secretary of ISATT, told the Herald that traditional sloping desks are good for posture. These issues should be prioritised as back problems are a huge cost to the Irish economy.