Weight of the World


She crammed the last drawing into her binder, double checked that her workbooks were in place, and shoved the bulky iPad somewhere in the middle of it all. After everything was perfectly in position, the 70 pound little girl strapped on her 15-pound Minnie Mouse backpack with a grunt and headed to the bus.

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., the heavy bags carried by students throughout the country cause low back pain that persists well into adulthood. In 2013, nearly 22,200 strains, sprains, dislocations, and fractures from backpacks were treated in ERs, clinics, and doctors’ offices. Since spinal ligaments and muscles aren’t fully developed until after a child is 16, an overweight backpack leads to repeated low-level stress that results in chronic neck, shoulder, or back pain.

The recommended maximum weight of a backpack is no more than ten percent of a child’s body weight, yet students like my daughter carry much more than that.

With no lockers for my daughter’s grade, I would recommend that Jacksonville school officials consider allotting a few minutes at the end of the last period for students to return to their homeroom and return unneeded workbooks and texts.

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Emily is the person to blame behind Surviving Alabama. She is a nerd, a mother, and sometimes pretends to be a writer (although there was that one legit writing job for a few years...). When she isn't writing, repairing computers, or designing websites, Emily is happily raising three children with her very understanding husband.