The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff Reports

Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 12:28 PM

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STUDY: Heavy Back Packs Pose Danger To Students Long Term With Back Issues

HEALTH: A new study warns that heavy backpacks could cause a health issue for some students.  While kids are trying to pick out the best backpacks, they need to be cautious of one thing - how much weight they will carry in it. Parents are already concerned with the strain a heavy back can cause.

"I'm more aware of that than most parents," said Janie Phillips, mother of a local student. "I have neck issues, and there's back problems that run in my family, so yeah it's definitely something I want to be careful with my kids, especially since they're growing. I don't feel like all that pressure is good on their spine."

A local chiropractor said Phillips is exactly right. Students should not carry more than 10-15 percent of their body weight.

"Ultimately you can set up an overuse injury, which can lead to arthritis, so we don't want a child to develop arthritis and we're seeing that more and more in children's spines," said chiropractor Craig Hennie.

"It also changes your posture as we have a tendency to lean forward as the backpack gets heavier, and we get tired, we lean further and further forward, which loads the neck because in order to look forward you have to tip your head up," said Hennie