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Heavy Backpacks Can Spell Chronic Back Pain for Children
Heavy Backpacks Can Spell Chronic Back Pain for Children
By hemant In Uncategorized Posted July 18, 2015 0 Comments

New York Times – April 23, 2012

 

My 11-year-old grandsons, Stefan and Tomas, weigh about 80 pounds each. On the 20-minute walk to their middle school and the uphill walk home, they carry backpacks that weigh about 12 pounds each, or 15 percent of their body weight.

When extra books or clothing, a musical instrument or other equipment are added, the weight they carry can reach 20 pounds. But whatever the figure, those packs are simply too heavy for their still-forming bones and muscles.

Heavy backpacks don’t just sap children of energy that might be better used doing schoolwork or playing sports. Lugging them can also lead to chronic back pain, accidents and possibly lifelong orthopedic damage.

Among the risks described by Dr.  , a sports medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston, are stress fractures in the back, inflammation of growth cartilage, back and neck strain, and nerve damage in the neck and shoulders.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission calculated that carrying a 12-pound backpack to and from school and lifting it 10 times a day for an entire school year puts a cumulative load on youngsters’ bodies of 21,600 pounds — the equivalent of six mid-sized cars.

The issue has been raised repeatedly in countries all over the world for more than a decade. In December 1999, doctors in Milan reported in The Lancet that 34.8 percent of Italian schoolchildren carried more than 30 percent of their body weight at least once a week, “exceeding limits proposed for adults.”

The load carried by these sixth-graders was equivalent to … continue

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