Proper Backpack Habits

Help Your Children Protect Their Backs

Teaching children healthy backpack habits can provide lasting benefits for their back health, according to the results of a recent study.

Young Man With BackpackResearchers in Spain explored whether an educational program about healthy backpack habits would help children between the ages of 10 and 12 reduce the amount of stress placed on their backs.

The study, “Effects of a postural education program on school backpack habits related to low back pain in children,” was published online ahead of print in November 2012. It appears in the European Spine Journal.

How the Study Was Conducted
The researchers looked at data on 137 children. The children were split into two groups: an experimental group received educational information about healthy backpack habits, while a control group followed the general school curriculum.

The researchers were interested in whether or not the educational program led the children to: limit the amount of weight in their backpacks, carry it on two shoulders as opposed to one, believe that the weight of one’s backpack affects back health, and to use lockers or other storage areas at school.

What the Researchers Found
The results of the study showed that there were improvements in the experimental group—children who received the educational intervention adopted healthier backpack habits, and these habits remained 3 months later. No significant improvements were seen in the group that did not receive the intervention. The researchers conclude that their study demonstrates that children can learn healthy backpack habits which may remain with them and help them prevent back pain in the future.

What This Study Means for You
Did you know that backpacks should only weigh approximately 10% to 15% of the bodyweight of the person who is wearing it? Proper backpack habits—not overloading them and carrying them high enough on the back, for example—can help prevent back, neck, and shoulder pain. For more information on the right way to wear a backpack, read our Backpack Syndrome article.

Updated on: 08/18/15
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