Heavy school bags may cause chronic backaches

Math, English, SST, Science, Practical file, French, Moral Science, GK, homework copy -- that's how many books a seven year old carries to school every day in New Delhi. The number of books is 14, just double their age.

And if your child is rushing to school every morning, slinging that heavy back pack over a shoulder, a word of caution, for studies show that 60 per cent of children get backaches, as a result.

And the books just get heavier.

Says Physiotherapist Max Healthcare, Dr Alakananda Banerjee, "Studies have shown that children who carry backpacks that weigh more than 20-25 per cent of their body weight are more likely to develop backaches. And at that age a child's spine is growing and is tender."

What's worse is that a heavy backpack also leads to bad posture. In the long run, your child might develop abnormal curves and spinal deformities and unfriendly ergonomics at school just add to it.

"Why this is very harmful is that this goes on for years, till the time the child is out of school. By then, the posture is already affected," says Dr Banerjee.

So, what is the ideal weight a child should be carrying? Experts say, no more than 15 per cent of his or her body weight.

And some schools have woken up to the alarming health repurcussions and are doing their bit by providing lockers, ergonomic chairs and tables, and even planning better timetables.

Says Principal Kothari International School, Seema Sapru, "The Supreme Court had enforced the Children School Bags Bill last year, which says that the weight of the school bag should not exceed ten per cent of the child's body weight and toddlers must not carry school bags at all!"

However, until schools follow up on this, one could help by buying children the right back pack -- one with padded shoulder straps, that fit snugly onto the middle of the back. And make sure the weight's distributed evenly across both shoulders.

Source : IBN Indian News

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