Owing to the heavy backpack that students carry, medical cases of students with serious back problems have increased. Some of which can be there for the rest of a child’s life. Doctors suggest that weight of the bag including lunch box, water bottle and books should be 10 per cent of the total weight of the pupil.
However, students carry bags twice their size, and hence are prone to permanent deformities. They may develop spinal cord abnormalities such as disfiguring curvatures known as scoliosis, musculo-skeletal problems, and spondilitis.
Recently, NCERT has proposed to implement their new plan of making the books thinner and bags lighter for the students. NCERT director Hrushikesh Senapaty said,“The idea is to focus on experiential learning. We want to promote a problem-solving approach. A workshop also took place recently to chalk out a plan to ensure students are not burdened physically or mentally by heavy textbooks.”
The survey in 2016 showed, that more than 88 per cent of children in the age group of 7-13 years carry more than 45 per cent of their weight on their backs including sports equipments on every alternate day because of which serious spinal degeneration is taking place which are irreversible.
The immediate effects of these are usually
- fatigue, back
- neck or shoulder pain besides numbness
- weakness in hands.
And in the long run from this tingling sensation, it increases to Kyphosis (hunched back or forward leaning) and even difficulty in breathing due to pressure on the lungs resulting from a bent posture.
Parents are requested to keep an eye on children’s bags so that they do not cause problems for their health when they are older.
A backpack is more comfortable than a bag which strains on only one shoulder, but remember even a backpack shouldn’t be overloaded.
- Buy a sturdy, well-designed bag with wide, padded shoulder straps that equalizes the pressure on shoulder and neck.
- Watch the child’s posture after he/she has put the bag on. The child shouldn’t be leaning forward or slouching
- Remove any unnecessary items and try to keep the bag light
Few steps that must be initiated by school authorities for the healthy being of the kids:
- School authorities should make it compulsory for students to carry light bags.
- There should be lockers where students can keep their books
- Schools can allow students to carry one big notebook used for various subjects
These are very few steps that can be implemented by teachers and parents for the benefit of their children, until it becomes too late to mend.