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3rd formers bear the brunt of heavy schoolbags

A study at Massey University in 2004 by J. Whittfield and S.J. Legg of 140 students with 70 third form students and 70 sixth form students showed that in comparison 3rd form students carried a higher weight load in their school bags than their older compatriots.  In addition to this 77.1% of the 140 students reported suffering some sort of musculoskeletal complaint.

Although the carrying of heavy school bags is not the only potential cause of back injury the research showed that the average load weight for schools bags was 13.2% of the student’s body weight which was above the generally accepted recommended level of 10%. One student was found to be carrying 27% of his body weight made up of two separate bags.

In the sample of 140 students, on average 35% of students reported lower back pain which is significant when compared against historical results for nurses (known to be a high-risk profession) at 16.8%.

It would seem that 3rd year students are carrying a significant load to school which may reflect the number of subjects they take and the corresponding number of textbooks and materials with limited or no option to access storage lockers. Parents need to be more vigilant with their children when they start secondary education and carry far greater loads in their school bags than previously. The use of Orthopaedic school bags and a specific focus on loading of school bags may help to reduce the risk to these children obtain future back injury.




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