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.
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 & posture, 17(1), 28-33.