Amidst all the flack surrounding kids and their too-heavy backpacks, two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in New Orleans earlier this month suggest that backpacks may not be to blame for childhood back pain after all.
In one study presented at the meeting, Dr. David Skaggs of the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles interviewed 1,546 children between the ages of 11 and 14 years old and found that more than one-third of the children said they experienced some back pain that they could attribute to their backpacks. However, Dr. Skaggs noted in an article reported by DG [Doctor’s Guide] News, that the mean weight of the subjects was a little over 120 pounds (56 kg) while their backpacks weighed less than 10 pounds (4.3 kg), or less than eight percent of the children’s body weights. The American Occupational Therapy Association has recommended that backpack loads carried by students be limited to 15 percent of a child’s body weight.
“One possible interpretation is that these kids are couch potatoes anyhow and that they are a little bit wimpy. Maybe these kids need more weight-bearing exercise to strengthen their back muscles,” Skaggs said during a question and answer session at the AAOS meeting.
Another study presented at the AAOS meeting reported that fewer than one percent of children who regularly carried school books in backpacks related their back pain to the weight of their packs.
Source: DG [Doctor’s Guide] News