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Heavy Backpacks Pose Serious Health Risk

Students Carry Packs Weighing Up to 21 Pounds

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Heavy backpacks can lead to long-term health effects.
Heavy backpacks can lead to long-term health effects.

Burlington High School students have been carrying a lot of weight on their backs. Books, binders and school supplies can add up, and the school’s health office is seeing the impact.

“Excess weight from a backpack can cause a lot of back complaints,” said Maureen Webb, a nurse at the high school.

In an informal survey conducted with a luggage scale, it was found that students carry up to 21 pounds of books, binders and papers that are given by teachers.

“Doctors recommend that people not carry any more than 10-15% of their body weight in a backpack,” Webb said.

Many students told the Register that they have had back pain caused by their packs.

Webb said that excess backpack weight could cause students to have future back problems. For example, if a student wears their backpack only on one shoulder, then their spine will begin to curve.

She has noticed a lot of students at BHS carrying a dangerous amount of weight on their back.

“They usually say either they don’t have a locker or they can’t walk back to the locker each time. I’m not sure why they feel the need to carry so much,” Webb said.

The school’s campus consists of six buildings, and with only five minutes between classes, hurrying between buildings during passing time can be a challenge.
We talked to students about their backpacks and weighed them. Take a look at the results:

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