Bending over laptops, staying indoors giving Mumbai school kids poor posture: Experts
An in-house survey by a city school revealed that poor seating and sleeping habits, and lack of physical fitness were responsible for growing number of children with a poor posturemumbai Updated: Aug 09, 2017 09:49 IST
Two years after the Maharashtra education department brought in a policy to make schoolbags lighter, city schools are finally waking up to the hazards of poor posture among children.
School officials said incorrect posture and constant bending over laptops is hurting children’s backs, just like the heavy school bags. Child development specialists and educationists said the schools need to improve seating arrangements in classrooms and reduce the weight of the bags simultaneously.
Last month, Children’s Academy Group of Schools (CAGS), Kandivli and Malad, conducted a short in-house survey to identify the causes of back and shoulder pain among students. The teachers interviewed parents and students to understand their lifestyle and daily habits.
The survey revealed that heavy school bags alongside poor seating and sleeping habits, and lack of physical fitness were responsible for growing number of children with a poor posture.
“How children sit in the classroom, where they spend nearly six to seven hours daily, is of utmost importance. However, no one seems to be paying attention to it,” said Rohan Bhat, chairperson, CAGS.
Based on the findings of its survey, the school issued an advisory to parents and teachers, asking them to encourage children to sit straight and take up some form of sporting activity.
“Students spend a lot of their time learning in classrooms, doing assignment in front of the laptop or studying for their examination while sitting. This leads to a poor posture. A poor posture not only affects the students physically, but also their psychology,” read the advisory.
Similarly, Nahar International School in Chandivli introduced specially-designed chairs and desks for its students. “Our benches are age-appropriate so that they are not too big or too small for the students. They vary from class to class,” said principal Vandana Arora.
In addition, the timetable has ben developed in such a way that students do not spent more than 20 minutes in their chairs. “In a 40 minute lecture, we have included activities to ensure that students remain active. During a maths class students solve problems at their desk and then the teacher might take them outdoors for observation or do some activities in the classroom,” said Arora.
Playing outdoors or taking up sport is one of the best ways for students to strengthen their back muscles, said orthopaedics.
“Various factors are responsible for back pain or incorrect posture in students. Heavy school bags is only one of them,” said Dr Ameet Pispati, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Jaslok Hospital, Pedder Road.
He added that today’s children were prone to back aches because their back muscles were under developed or weak. This he said was owing to leaning or slouching over screens and spending more time indoors. Pispati also said that seating arrangements schools must improve.
“Classroom benches usually do not have back support, this causes children to lean forward and stoop. This can weaken their back muscles. Also, stooping and slouching will have negative effect on their confidence,” he said.