A Pilot Evaluation of the Effects of Exercise Stability Balls on BMI in the Educational Setting

Kelly M. Kalovcak, Erik Lehman, Marsha B. Novick

Penn State Hershey College of Medicine Class of 2016, PA, USA. Biostatistician, Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, PA, USA. Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, PA, USA


Childhood obesity is a significant public health problem, and school-based interventions offer opportunities to reach children. We examined the feasibility of using stability balls, as compared to traditional desk chairs, in elementary school classrooms testing effects on vital signs and BMI. Forty-seven fourth graders from two classrooms participated: twenty-seven using balls and 20 using chairs over a 45 day period from the beginning to the end of the second quarter of school. Overall, children welcomed using stability balls and over 90% reported improvement of the classroom’s learning environment. No significant difference was found in BMI percentile (p = 0.726), systolic (p = 0.148) or diastolic (p = 0.747) blood pressure percentiles, or resting pulse (p=0.977) between the two classrooms. Journal of Nature and Science, 1(6):e117, 2015

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