Increasingly in this technological age, individuals are experiencing greater levels of spinal discomfort and disability related to stress and poor posture. Many people commonly work and play in cramped, awkward, slouched postures. The resulting pandemic of work and recreation-related chronic spinal disorders compromises the quality of our lives. Every year spinal disorders and back pain result in expenditures and losses of billions of dollars related to health care fees and diminished individual income and productivity.

To combat this trend just as the dental profession educated and empowered the public to care for their dental health daily, we are now launching an initiative to educate, empower and mobilize the public to “Straighten Up” and care for their posture and spinal health daily.

Straighten Up is a worldwide health initiative geared to improve the posture, structural development and self-esteem of our youth and all of our citizens. It was designed and developed by multidisciplinary seed and Delphi panels, including a wide range of health care professionals, fitness experts and leaders of the World Health Organization and United States Bone and Joint Decade.

The vision of Straighten Up is very simple: we envision a day when everyone performs a short enjoyable spinal exercise module daily just as we brush our teeth. Straighten Up also includes healthy lifestyle recommendations aimed at markedly reducing the alarming rate of obesity in our children.

Recent studies indicate that training school children in beneficial postural habits and exercises can be helpful in facilitating postural improvement. (1) This is very encouraging because in today's sedentary digital culture, many children spend long hours of school and recreational time in stooped awkward postures that have been correlated with poor spinal health in several studies. Other recent research indicates that the spinal health of adolescent students has been worsening over a ten year period. (2)

Research showed that after five weeks of daily practice of “Straighten Up” exercises, 83% of study participants reported that they had improved their posture, 78% reported that they had strengthened their core muscles, and 80% reported that they sat and stood more upright and that their backs were more comfortable.” (3)

We encourage children and all of our citizens to practice the Posture Pod Flying Friends exercises for better spinal health beginning on World Spine Day October 16th .

The full Straighten Up New Zealand programme including introductory articles, handouts, and PowerPoint educational presentations is available from the practitioners' section of this website or go to the Adults Exercises page to download an exercise sheet and start improving your spinal health.

Go ahead, Straighten Up New Zealand! It's fitness fun for everyone!

  1. Cardon, GM ., de Clercq, DL ., Geldhof, EJ ., Verstraete, S ., de Bourdeaudhuij, IM . “ Back education in elementary schoolchildren: the effects of adding a physical activity promotion program to a back care program”. European Spine Journal. 2007 Jan;16(1):125-33.

  2. Hakala, P., Rimpelä, A., Salminen, J.J., Virtanen, S.M., and Rimpelä, M. “ Back, neck, and shoulder pain in Finnish adolescents: national cross sectional surveys” . British Medical Journal. 2002 October 5; 325(7367): 743.

  3. Kirk, R. “Developing a Spinal Health Promotion Initiative: Use of an Expert Seed Panel and Electronic Delphi Consensus Process”. Family Information Services, Research and Reviews. 2006 May.
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Did you

Poor posture and inactivity can lead to muscle tension and pain.

Approximately 80% of the population suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.