It seems like it just started, which makes it so hard to believe it's back-to-school time again
Here's something to consider when you're shopping for school supplies: how heavy is your child's backpack?
Weighty backpacks have received increasing attention in recent years as the persistent cause of back, neck, and shoulder problems in kids. Research suggests that children with back pain often develop chronic symptoms lasting into adulthood, making it all the more important to tackle back and neck pain early in life.
Current guidelines recommend that backpacks shouldn't exceed 10-15% of a child's body weight. In a recent study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics, researchers analyzed the prevalence of back, neck, and shoulder pain in 586 schoolchildren aged 12-14.
They measured children's weight, height, BMI, and the weight of their school. Children reported how they carried their bags (over one shoulder, with both shoulders, or carrying with a hand) and the type of bag they carried (back pack, satchel, or brief case).
The majority of kids (59.6%) reported some type of neck, back, or shoulder pain. More than a third of children (35.3%) reported neck pain, more than a quarter of kids (26.2%) had low-back pain, and 33% of children had shoulder pain.
Kids who carried backpacks for more than 20 minutes or who had heavier bags were more likely to suffer from neck pain. Those who carried a backpack were more likely to suffer from low-back pain compared to kids using a satchel or briefcase. Carrying school bags by one hand or over one shoulder only slightly increased the risk of neck, back, and shoulder pain.