Backpack Misuse Leads to Back Problems

More groups are warning about children carrying backpacks. In two February 2001 stories by the Associated Press and PRNewswire, health groups are coming out about the dangers of overweight backpacks being carried by children. Some of the groups who have issued warnings include, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Chiropractic Association and the International Chiropractors Association.

Some school districts have even begun to address this problem. The Wayland, Mass., public school system has distributed extra copies of some textbooks to middle school students so they don't have to carry as many books between school and home. A recent study conducted in Italy found that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for a 176-pound man, or a 29- pound load for a 132-pound woman. Additionally, preliminary results of studies being conducted in France show that the longer a child wears a backpack, the longer it takes for a curvature or deformity of the spine to correct itself.