by Taylor Childs
Body ache after a long school day? How much weight does a typical student strap to their back during the week? The average student carries a book bag that weighs 17 pounds.
MHS Pulse staff weighed 20 backpacks to find the average weight. The heaviest book bag on record was 27.8 pounds, while the lightest was 7.6 pounds.
Backpacks are useful tools, but they can also strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they're too heavy. Most doctors and physical therapists recommend that students carry no more than 10 percent to 15 percent of their body weight in their book bags.
There’s also an incorrect way to wear a book bag. When a backpack is too heavy, it pulls the carrier backwards. This causes the wearer to lean forward on the hips or arch the back, which can cause the spine to compress unnaturally. This is what may cause shoulder, neck, and/or back pain.
Getting a tingle from wearing a backpack? That’s not a good thing. If a backpack’s straps are too tight or narrow, they might cut into one’s circulation and nerves. This tingling and numbness could contribute to weakness in the arms and hands.
Carrying this large of a backpack, students may be a danger to one another. Kids who carry large packs often aren't aware of how much space they take up and can hit others with them while turning around or moving through tight spaces.
“I get hit with a book bag at least five or six times a day at my locker,” junior Samantha Peters said. “It’s very annoying because sometimes the zipper gets caught on my shirt or I get nicked.”
Crowded hallways filled with students lugging giant backpacks can get kind of animalistic. “I get bumped at my locker after lunch. It’s like being a salmon swimming upstream. It’s kind of annoying,” senior Kacie Morgan said.
Back in the 1980s, students didn’t use book bags because they were seen as uncool. Book bags soon may be a thing of the past, so use them while they’re here, but use them properly.
“Wear them correctly right now, or live to regret it later,” Spanish teacher Mrs. Tamara Skaggs said.