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Weighing Down the Pack

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Weighing Down the Pack

Some of the backpacks that were weighed.

Some of the backpacks that were weighed.

Torie Wolf

Some of the backpacks that were weighed.

Torie Wolf

Torie Wolf

Some of the backpacks that were weighed.

Torie Wolf, Staff Writer

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Are backpacks weighing down Rocky? According to The New York Times, kids between 2nd and 4th grades carry about five pounds worth of homework and books on their back. However, once kids reach the 6th grade, the homework load gets heavier and so does their backpack. On average, 6th graders carry backpacks weighting 18.4 pounds, although some backpacks are found to have weighed as much as 30 pounds.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child’s backpack weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s weight. Consumer Reports recommends keeping the weight closer to 10 percent of a child’s weight and recommends parents to weigh their kids backpacks.

 

Thanks to Gina Harris, the school nurse, who allowed us to use her scale in the health office, we were able to conduct our own research. We found that the bigger the bag was, the heavier it was.This could be because people feel inclined to carry more “stuff” around that they don’t exactly need to bring to class.

 

We discovered that  your laptop alone weighs about 3.8 pounds. We weighed 10 random backpacks from all grades and found the heaviest bag at 34.2 pounds with the lightest at 13.8 pounds–which is still really heavy considering that experts say it should only weight 10% of your body weight.  

 

The average weight from our research was 18.7 pounds. The grade we found had the heaviest backpacks were the sophomores, then the juniors, then the freshman, and finally the seniors. However, each average was pretty close to each other. It also made sense that the seniors have the “lightest load” because most of them have class schedules that don’t involve classes with textbooks.

 

This wasn’t exactly the best news because children can suffer from low-back pain, just like adults, according to

“A heavy backpack is a strong contributor to low-back pain in children””

— Dr. Orly Avitzur,

a board-certified neurologist and medical adviser to Consumer Reports. “A heavy backpack is a strong contributor to low-back pain in children,” Avitzur said, adding that carrying a heavy pack for long periods of time, or carrying it on one shoulder instead of two, and climbing stairs while lugging a heavy load can exacerbate the problem. Girls and shorter children are more likely to have back pain from backpacks, due to the fact they commonly have a smaller stature.

 

If you are worried about the weight of your backpack, we recommend going through your bag and taking out everything you haven’t used that week, or simply buy a smaller backpack so you physically cannot fill it with unneeded materials.

 

If you don’t want to do either of those things, start using your locker more than than you already do and make sure to store your heaviest ideas in there. Remember, you do have 10 minute passing periods.

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