Story by Bailey Wilson / Cromwell High School
The average student carries a backpack weighing about 25% of their body weight. The recommended weight is no more than 15%. Because students are carrying on average over 15% of their own body weight, causing mechanical and physiological adaptations that could increase injury risk, fatigue, swelling and discomfort.
School Principal, Fran DiFiore said, “I do worry about the weight of those backpacks on students, some of our students are physically very small and you know, that's a lot of stress on your back and on your spine. I have never thought about forcing that issue because I kind of feel that those lockers are available to everyone and they’re assigned each year and they have a combination. So if they really wanted to use them, they would use them.”
Angela Matera, a registered nurse at School based Community Health Center, said “Sometimes students come to me complaining about back pain and have no idea it could be their backpacks until we weigh their backpacks at the clinic and find out how heavy they are. And if they don’t carry them in the correct way or lighten their load they can be hurt.”
Such heavy loads may include changes to ones posture, gait, and physical discomfort.
Students, parents and teachers need to be careful in their consideration of the loads being carried on a daily basis.