Outsized school bags are turning into a curse for kids, 80% of whom carry loads up to a fifth of their body weight, really taxing their backs, says a new research from the charity BackCare.
Studies show that carrying more than a tenth of your body weight can cause spinal damage. Experts say we're facing an epidemic of back problems in young adults when the long-term effects of this damage starts to appear.
"We are seeing increasing numbers of young adults coming for treatment in relation to back trouble and this can often be traced back to carrying heavy bags to school," warns Peter Skew, an Essex-based expert in musculoskeletal medicine, the Daily Mail reports.
Skew, vice-president of BackCare, adds: "Children's skeletons are still developing, and having a heavy bag slung over one shoulder can exert unnatural force on the spine..."
"Rather like exercising only one side of your body in the gym, you quickly get unilateral muscle-loading, which can cause the small muscles in the back to tighten and compress the spine," adds Skew.
A 2007 British study showed that 13% to 50% of 11-17 year olds have experienced back pain.