Back Packs & Posture In Children

Children naturally move with freedom and ease.  Technology and textbooks are putting these freedoms at risk.

Children today sit far more today than they used to. These days, children have regular access to smartphones, laptops and I-pads. These gadgets create chronic postural stress. Additionally, children sit for long periods of time in schools, placing a huge demand on a child’s structure. Children are physically aging more quickly than ever.

Photo Courtesy: www.betterhealthpractice.com.au

Photo Courtesy: www.betterhealthpractice.com.au

Moreover, children carry absurdly heavy school backpacks.  If you factor in all of these postural challenges, it would appear unlikely that our children’s growing malleable bodies would develop healthy posture. In fact according to a study, 70% of children carried their backpacks in a stooped posture.

Posture is a health issue
We generally believe that posture is related to appearance and that is the only concern. More importantly, posture is a health issue.
Poor posture has major implications that affect our well-being:

      • Vital organs are compressed to the point where functions relating to respiration, digestion and assimilation of nutrients and elimination of waste can be adversely affected.
      • Flow of blood is constricted.
      • Connective tissue can shorten and limit joint range of motion.
What can you do about this?

While all this might seem overwhelming you can take the first step to positively impact your child’s health.

      • Lighten the load on their back. In fact, it is recommended that children not carry more than 10-15 percent of their weight in backpacks.
      • Pick a backpack that fits appropriate to the size of your child. A padded backpack could minimize load on the back.
      • Adjust the straps. A backpack should never rest more than 4 inches from the child’s waistline.
      • Encourage your child to wear the backpack on both shoulders to even out the weight distribution.
      • Speak with authorities at their school if necessary so children are supported to make the change.
      • Pack only necessary items required for a school day. Buy used textbooks that could be kept at school in order to reduce the load.
      • Consider a Rolfing series for your infant, toddler or child. Rolfing is a wonderful tool to help children develop the template of good posture.