Heavy backpacks increase risk of child back pain: report

La Coruña, Spain – Children who carry heavy backpacks have a higher risk of suffering from back pain and an increased risk of adverse back conditions, such as scoliosis, according to a study published in the March issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researchers analyzed 1,403 children between the ages of 12 and 17 from 11 schools in Spain during the 2005-2006 academic year. They found that 61.4 percent of students carried backpacks exceeding 10 percent of their body weight and 18.1 percent of kids carried backpacks exceeding 15 percent of their body weight.

Children carrying the heaviest backpacks had a 50 percent higher risk of back pain for more than 15 days and a 42 percent risk of a back condition, the study abstract stated. Researchers found that girls had a higher risk of a back condition than boys despite the lack of differences in backpack weight by gender.

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