Back pain warning over heavy schoolbags

15 Mar 2012  |  The Telegraph

One in four children have back problems because they carry rucksacks to school weighing a tenth of their body weight, researcher have said.

A study of 1403 schoolchildren aged between 12 and 17 found a quarter suffered from back-pain which lasted for more than 15 days. The most common problem was curvature of the spine.

Almost two thirds of the children carried rucksacks to school that weighed more than 10 per cent of their own body weight and almost one in five had bags weighing more than 15 per cent. The average rucksack weighed seven kilos.

The findings were published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Although the study was conducted in Spain, the research stated that similar rates of backpain were reported by schoolchildren in Britain in previous research.

Co-author Prof Alberto Ruano, of the University of Santiago de Compostel, in Spain, wrote in the journal: “The results obtained have strong implications.

“Many children transport excessively loaded backpacks, an excess which would not be allowed for workers in employment. We strongly encourage the medical and educational community to start advising parents and school children about the risks posed by heavy school bags and the fact that this risk can be easily reduced.”