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CNN Health Minute: Heavy backpacks

Updated: Friday, August 16 2013, 03:54 PM MDT

CNN – It’s back to school season and that means students are hitting the books, but lugging around heft backpacks can bring on back pain.

Often, everything a child needs at school can be found in once place – on their back.

From books and notebooks to pencils and other school supplies, it all gets toted around in a backpack.

But all that stuff can really add up in weight, said Dr. David Marshall, Medical Director of Sports Medicine at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“We’re starting to see more and more back pain complaints in the doctors and the sports medicine offices and the question is, is there a correlation between backpacks and back pain? Marshall said.

Marshall demonstrated how we advised his own daughter to properly wear her backpack.

“The way she has it adjusted out, it’s way too low. The weight of the backpack should never be lower than the waistline, so the straps should be adjusted so that the backpack fits high up on her shoulders. The shoulder strap needs to be two of them, not just one, and also they need to be wide and padded,” Marshall said.

He recommends the use of an abdominal strap.

“That will also help redistribute the load evenly across the child’s back without having the effect of 10 pounds pulling back on their shoulders then,” Marshall said.

Experts recommend these bags not weigh more than about 10 to 15 percent of the student’s body weight; also, so that the child does not fall or bump into another student.

If that’s not feasible, you may want to purchase a rolling backpack.

CNN Health Minute: Heavy backpacks


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