Health Concerns with Heavy Backpacks

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EUGENE, Ore. — Another thing to think about as kids ready to go back to school: backpacks.

Doctors say carrying too many books and supplies can cause serious health problems for kids.

Kids carry various supplies to school — pencils, calculators, and books — but where do they store it all? On their backs in a backpack, which doctors say can cause neck and back pain if the backpack is too heavy.

Dr. Garreth MacDonald is a chiropractor in Eugene and he said that in research that he’s seen, 75 percent of all children ages 12-18 have experienced back and neck pain.

If a child’s backpack is too heavy, Dr. MacDonald said it could also leave a curve in the spine, which can affect the growth and development in a child.

He said the weight of a child’s backpack should be monitored by parents.

“Check the weight of the backpack. When your child comes home from school and they’ve got a heavy backpack, check it and see what’s going on. If it’s too heavy, then figure out a way to minimize the load the child is carrying to and from school,” said Dr. MacDonald.

He said the ideal backpack should have two straps that are padded and should be worn close to the back with the weight distributed in the lower part of the spine.

The weight should be 10 to 15 percent of the child’s body weight.

Dr. MacDonald said to seek help and visit a chiropractor if your kids are telling you they’re experience neck and back pain.

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