Heavy backpacks are a sign of the times, and they’re not just a problem in Dallas. The American Chiropractic Association reports an increase in the number of young patients who are carrying overweight backpacks and suffering from back pain. The organization recommends that backpacks not weigh more than 5 to 10 percent of a student’s body weight. They also say backpacks should never be slung over one shoulder or hang more than 4 inches below the waist. They recommend wide, padded straps and multiple pockets that distribute the weight.
Lawmakers in California‑concerned with increasing reports of students suffering from spinal injuries- have started to seek solutions. Gov. Gray Davis signed a measure requiring the school districts to seek “creative, cost‑effective options to reduce excess backpack weight.” California may resort to issuing a second set of textbooks to keep at home or distribute books on CD‑ROM. No one has begun to grapple with this weighty issue in Texas‑yet. “I’m not aware of any statewide movement to try to combat heavy backpacks,” says Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, senior director of communications for the Texas Education Agency.
Reprinted by permission from Dallas Child magazine.