Kids Health

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Does Your Child Carry Too Much To School?

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There must be days when your child has to take everything but the kitchen sink to school! Guitars, cookery ingredients, football kits, packed lunch and of course, books, are dragged there and dragged all the way back regularly, but have you stopped to think about the health implications for your child?

The weights that children are required to carry to school is causing concern to health specialists. 80% of children regularly carry more than 20% of their body weight, when in fact, anything above 15% can create serious problems for your child’s back. Reports of back problems amongst 11-17 year olds are increasing and this can be traced directly to the amount of weight children are carrying to school. Even when they get to school, kids are unlikely to be able to offload some weight as traditional desks and lockers are often not available.

Musculoskeletal experts recommend that a child should carry weight in a backpack rather than in a shoulder bag. A backpack will distribute weight evenly across the shoulders whereas shoulder bags affect the natural curvature of the spine and place it under unnatural pressure. If possible, the weight should be carried close to the spine in a backpack by pulling the shoulder straps taught. A waist strap is also a good idea so that weight can be carried on the hips. It sounds an easy solution, but the reality is that many kids just don’t feel cool walking around with an old-fashioned rucksack strapped to their back. Its a shame that bags with wheels are not cool either as these are ideal for transporting weight without affecting the skeleton.

If you can talk to your child and educate them about the problems associated with carrying too much weight, they may be receptive to a change in habits. Discuss the possiblity of your child leaving some books at home and only taking what they need for the day to school (Believe it or not, some kids will take ALL their books to school EVERY day!) PE kits can be pared down to the  minimum too – some kids will take their football boots to school for every PE session even if they don’t need them. Treat them to a trip to the local sports shop to see if you can agree on a style of bag that is both practical and fashionable and that will help protect their developing bodies from damage.

 

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