School furniture, backpacks may be causing back pain: study

Lisbon, Portugal – Back pain among adolescents may be tied to school furniture dimensions and heavy backpacks, according to a new study from the University of Lisbon.

In a study of 138 students 12 to 15 years old, 80 students reported back pain, and pain was more common among kids whose desk height was not matched to their elbows. The desk issue also was more prevalent among girls.

Citing an increase in youth reports of headache and back and neck pain, researchers said the problem may have multiple causes, of which school ergonomics is likely one. They recommended developing programs to prevent back pain and promote healthy lifestyles for students.

The study was published in the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics.