How much school bags weigh?

Yesterday, when my little brother came home after the school, he looked exhausted and frustrated. I picked his school bag to reveal his weariness, but I was taken aback by the heavy weight of the bag. It was like he put hundred bricks into it. I asked him why his bag was so heavy and he replied that there are many books to carry, and that this amount is even a half of that. I do not exaggerate facts, but I started to think about the negative impact of this books’ heaviness on pupils’ health and growing body. Therefore, this post highlights discrepancies between standard percentages of school bags weight in three different locations with elucidation of negative influence on health.

School  children                   

At the beginning, several factors should be taken into consideration in order to investigate the topic in-depth.  Pupils’ average body weight, distance between home and school, student gender, age are factors which induce specific effects on students’ health. Many countries share with their acceptable norms of student carriage load. As for Australia, Grimmer et al. (as cited in Hong et al, 2003, p.28) reported that “the average load carried by children was 5.3 kg or approximately 10% of body weight”. However, half of students still carry overweight bags. Grimmer et al. (ibid.) strongly agreed that there is a close connection between carried loads and back senses. As for the second location, Pascoe et al. (ibid.) reported that in the USA, students carry schoolbags on average proportion in 17% of their body weight. They also underlined the health problems such as “muscle soreness, back pain, numbness, and shoulder pain” which are caused by over-loading bags. The third example was even more appalling; the Hong Kong Society for Child Health and Development (ibid.) reported that their students transfer 20.2% of body weight. To more clarify the notion, here is the example: If a child weighs 40 kg, he should carry 8 kg on AVERAGE every day! Deformations of back, sense of tiredness and other many negative consequences could be followed.

Speaking of local context, does somebody considers the index of average school bag load while making up curriculum? As the facilitating option, probably, it would be better to negotiate with classmates or “deskmates” to share amount of books or to let parents buy a locker and let students to leave there some school stuffs? Or revision of curriculum and juxtaposing of subjects should be reevaluated?


Hong, Y., & Cheung, C. K. (2003). Gait and posture responses to backpack load during level walking in children. Gait & posture17(1), 28-33.


3 thoughts on “How much school bags weigh?

  1. Race to Nowhere, a recent documentary on the topic of overworked, overloaded and overwhelmed students, mentioned this as one of the most serious detriments to student health. Not only do they spend several hours outside of school each day studying and working, but they are often pushed to their physical limits as well. A good post on a little-discussed topic.


  2. Thanks Didara, for your concerns about the children’s health and physical appearance. In fact, you have raised one of the alarming issue which is happening in Kazakhstani public schools. As the schoolchildren promoted from grade to grade, the number of books in their bags starts to increase. However, students do not have to carry all their books home after classes in private schools. They leave most of their books in their lockers, which are located inside their classrooms. Because they do their homework at school and bring home only some of their books. For those parents whose children attend public schools, I suggest negotiating with the school principal and buying lockers to their kids. I think it is worth trying!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I grow up as your little brother! Me and my friends were carrying the whole seven or six (per day) books every, when I studied in a mainstream school. However, it did not make me exhausted or frustrated student. In contrast, I felt a physical power, which made me healthy individual. I never was ill in my childhood. Then, I was accepted for gifted school, as miss Zhadyra mentioned, there was no need to carry heavy bags. I started to starve without physhical exercises. I suppose, carrying a bag was one the part of my physical activity. Now I grow up. Sometimes I carry heavy packages, sometimes not. Feeling tired proves that I live with a full life.


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