standing desks lower BMI

Texas A&M faculty-led company acquired by Varidesk

Research-based student desk designs impacted children’s health and classroom management
June 6, 2018

Stand2Learn, a faculty-led company founded by Mark Benden, PhD, CPE, has been acquired by Varidesk, a Dallas-area manufacturer of active office products.

Benden is head of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Texas A&M School of Public Health and serves as director of the Ergonomics Center.

Stand2Learn was founded in 2012 and had achieved profitable year-over-year growth, averaging more than 100 percent annually under Benden’s leadership. More than 100,000 children use his desks in all 50 states and 13 countries.

Research conducted by Benden and his team that led to the creation and commercialization of the student desk designs was funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

“Our research found improvements in cognition, calorie expenditure, BMI trajectories and classroom management that gave this project fuel to impact child health and development through the classroom experience,” Benden said.

Texas A&M Technology Commercialization has licensed seven inventions Benden developed to four companies since he joined the School of Public Health faculty in 2008, and he was recently recognized with the Texas A&M Innovation Award.

With a career spanning 25 years in occupational safety and ergonomics, Benden has produced multiple processes, tools and devices to ease injury and illness risk. Many of these devices are active projects protected by 21 United States patents with multiple patents pending. Sales of items with his patent numbers have totaled more than $500 million, and the expected lifetime economic impact of his designs exceeds $2 billion.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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