What Backpacks are Doing to Students

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What Backpacks are Doing to Students

By Arthur Qin

In today’s world, backpacks are really the only way most students carry their “necessities” with. But really, heavy backpacks are damaging kids’ health. In a report in 2013 by the American Friends of Tel Aviv University, the authors suggest that heavy backpacks can damage the nervous system, your muscles, and the skeletal system. “Improperly used backpacks may injure muscles and joints and can lead to severe back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as posture problems,” orthopedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Daniel Green, MD, told The Huffington Post. And with the evidence supporting this so far, this is proving to be true.

This isn’t the only study that says this. In a study in 2014 by The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a backpack’s weight on a child should only be up to 15% of a child’s body weight. In a survey by Consumer Reports shows that kids have been wearing backpacks up to 40% of their body weight. A report by John J. Triano, DC, and Ph.D concludes that a heavy load can also strain the back, neck, and shoulders. It can strain muscles and cause irritation to joints in the spine and rib cage. They can also “distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, . . . lead to rounding of the shoulders, [and] cause a person to lean forward, reducing balance and making it easier to fall.”
Also, only having one strap on a shoulder will force your muscles to strain to shift the balance. Heavy backpacks can also result in neck pain as well, which would in turn cause headaches, shoulder and lower back pain, and/or neck and arm pain. Thankfully, heavy backpacks don’t cause scoliosis (and neither does bad posture).

How are people responding to this? Well, you may be surprised to learn that in 2002, a study revealed that over 96% of parents were not checking or monitoring their children’s’ backpack’s weight in any way. And although it might not seem that this is a big problem, it will probably reveal to be one in the following years to come. Many groups and newspapers are already spreading the message around, and we can help!

Here is a picture on how heavy backpacks can affect your back.

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What Backpacks are Doing to Students