Photo by Greg EbersoleLoaded down with a duffle back, backpack and band instrument, Karson McCollum, 12, walks to the Clatskanie Elementary School entrance after arriving by bus last week.
Backpacks have become a necessity in everyday life. Every single student in America has a backpack and in most cases, those backpacks are causing major issues to the student’s health. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that backpacks should weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a student’s weight.
“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. Also, if a student already has scoliosis, a stress fracture or muscle strain wearing heavy backpacks can aggravate the condition or delay recovery.
Carrying around a heavy bag all day can also put you at higher risk for arthritis.”The additional weight [of the backpack] then becomes transmitted through the joints of the spine, the hips, and the knees,” says Dr. Carpenter. “This can increase the risk of premature osteoarthritis (the wear and tear of joints).”
A solution to the issue could be keeping notebooks in class.
“Once I take my notebooks out of my bag it feels way heavier. I also think that school laptops are very heavy,” states Nicki Haulbold (8th).
If a student has a notebook for each core class, they’re carrying four notebooks in their bag. Also, school laptops are very old and heavy and are most likely the heaviest item in a student’s backpack.
Another, and perhaps better solution is having lockers in the hallways.
Charlotte Flukey (8th) agrees, “If we had lockers, we wouldn’t have to carry all of our notebooks and lunches around all day.”
Until changes are made, students just have to be mindful of how they’re wearing their backpacks. Instead of wearing backpacks on only one shoulder, students should opt to wear them on both. This will help evenly distribute the weight. Students should also be mindful of what they’re placing in their bag, making sure they’re not overpacking.