The weight on students’ shoulders


As students progress through school, a common complaint is that of the weight on their shoulders- both physically and metaphorically. School can be very difficult, but so is carrying a 15-pound book bag.

CNN recently published a health article about students from elementary to high school and the weight of their backpacks causing back problems and pain.

CNN asked students in Atlanta to open their book bags, revealing books, folders, binders, pens and pencils, gym clothes, and other items that are not always used, but there for “emergencies,” such as a flashlight.

Not every book bag was overtly heavy, but some were obscenely overweight. Such is the book bag of Allie Jeffay, an 11th grader, whose backpack weighs 23.5 pounds. However, heavy backpacks are not strictly tied to high schoolers, as one fourth-grader, Jaia Alli, carries an 11 pound book bag on the daily basis. The astounding weights hold students back, as they complain about headaches, shoulder aches and back pain. A doctor quoted in the article recommends that a book bag be no more than 10 percent of a child’s weight in order to avoid back pain.

The media holds a strong voice in public health awareness. Not only does the article provide real examples from actual students, but it also teaches the reader how to properly pack a backpack with the heaviest item against one’s back to avoid strain, and which one to buy to prevent back problems like one with fully padded back and shoulder straps to cushion the weight. With the actual weights and contents of children’s backpacks and their commentary, the support is relative enough to illicit parental action, or for schools to allow for more locker accessibility.

The bottom line is that children are suffering from an issue that many often overlook. With this article, CNN shared multiple children’s perspectives about a daily issue that their parents might otherwise not have known, thus helping children from unnecessary suffering and providing a solution.