The student news site of Hopkins High School

Heavy backpacks causing students long-term health effects

Oct 30, 2018

Everyday students across the world walk around their schools oblivious to the fact that one of their most beneficial learning tools is slowly ruining their backs.

Constantly wearing backpacks that are heavier than recommended can lead to immediate and long term health problems. Health risks associated with heavy backpacks include muscle fatigue, poor posture and muscle imbalance.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a student’s backpack should weigh no more than 20 percent of their body weight. The recommend healthy backpack weight is ten percent of their body weight. However students tend to pack more into their backpacks than their backs can bear.

“I don’t believe heavy backpacks is an important issue,” said Kobi Schear, sophomore.

Schear said that teachers use chromebooks to limit the amount of textbooks in students bags. Without textbooks, Schear said, students only need a few notebooks and folders which limits the weight.

Although the use of chromebooks does help with reducing backpack weight, The American Association of Neurological Surgeons says 75 – 80 percent of young people in America are still projected to experience back pain in their backs. This statistic is largely due to overweight backpacks.

Shannon Sinkel, nurse, feels that the topic of heavy backs is a very relevant and important issue.

“It is an important issue because it seems like everybody’s got a backpack on their back all the time and it’s so much weight at such an early age that it can effect that musculoskeletal system,” Sinkel said.

Sinkel said students like Schear who don’t believe that heavy backpacks is an issue aren’t thinking of their long term health.

“They’re not thinking long term, because right now it doesn’t feel so bad, they’re able to handle it, but they’re not thinking that as they get older the implications it could have on their back and their muscles from carrying all that heavy weight around for so long,” Sinkel said.

Sinkel also said students believe that just carrying around all of their supplies is the easiest and only choice. Although she understands that lockers aren’t always convenient, Sinkel proposes that only carrying around your morning or your afternoon classes and leaving the other in your locker would be extremely beneficial to students back health.

Schear on the other hand said he believes that limiting backpack weight is the responsibility of the teachers rather than the students.

“Teachers are responsible for making the supplies that students are expected to have, therefore a student can’t really try to reduce the weight of there backpack because they need to have all of the supplies,” Schear said.

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