Right out the gates, let me state that I am not claiming that 6.5 million kids (5-17) have been diagnosed with ADHD because of sitting still. I am saying that the "sitting still" culture across our society over so many decades has helped pigeon hole many children into believing they have a neurological disorder, when they truly do not. "Sitting still" has stigmatized our children. We need a better perspective on mental health.
First, understand humans were not designed to be sedentary. The sedentary lifestyle didn't play a heavy impact in natural selection because lazy folks get eaten by bears and they don't get to pass down their genes to the next generation. In other words, humanity has not come this far by sitting down on our butts. We are not naturally sedentary.
Since we institutionalized education and learning during the Industrial Revolution we implemented a game plan that would get young children to conform and abide in order to receive specific instructions on how to become a laborer and work on a new piece of exciting technology. This new game plan needed to execute on the idea that kids needed to be well behaved and nearly silent in order to learn this new series of content about new types of technology. Students eventually motivated themselves on the idea that they'd be privileged enough to work on one of these novel pieces of technology, if they stayed quiet, still and in their chair.
Sitting down in your own work space, given the ability to focus on your own learning and concentrate, seemed like the sensible way to go about it. And it obviously was because 300 years later we have a ton of advancement and impactful innovatioon to show for it. However, 300 years later, after technology has taken off into evolution, the ecosystem for learning has stayed relatively dormant. Yes, the classroom has not changed much in 300 years. Most classrooms are still monopolized with sitting desks, that look nearly the same they did 300 years ago. Today's classroom innovation goes as far as converting from chalk board to white board. I am not knocking the Instragram/Pinterest Teacher community, but they are limited in the resources they can use to evolve the classroom. At the end of the day, whether it's a hip bean bag or a desk, sitting down is sitting down.
I like to keep things simple, especially when trying to assess the big picture. So, in one case you have a classroom design that has not evolved or changed in 300 years. At the same time, you have humans who have changed and evolved quite a bit that are still being forced into that same classroom design that was invented 300 years ago. The difference is now we have 6.5 million kids with diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. We have a huge mental health ripple effect in the constructs right now.
What should we do?