back packs

Back Packs: Your Child's Spine's at Risk:

Bookbags: What Every Parent Should Know:

Carrying the Back Pack Issue into the schools:

April is Back Pack Safety Month

The month of April has been designated as National Backpack Safety Month by the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, (COCSA). This organization is an association of other US state chiropractic organizations. This month-long event is designed to help educate parents, children and school officials about the potential dangers of heavy backpacks used by children and the solutions to this problem. This is the second year for this event. However, this year a large corporate sponsor has joined in. Office Depot will be promoting the program directly to school officials across the country. Office Depot, Inc. is one of the world`s largest sellers of stationary supplies to schools.

In a February 22, 2003 release, COCSA President, Dr. Kevin Donovan, also added, "Recent research reports that a majority of today's students are carrying more than the recommended weight levels and sustaining significant injury that may last a lifetime. It is imperative that doctors of chiropractic become involved with this growing epidemic. I am very excited that the chiropractic community has taken a leadership position and created national focus on the issue of backpack injury."

On their website, COCSA offers two links of importance on this subject. The first is a Facts About Backpack Injury , and the second is Ways to Prevent Backpack Injury. Both these are available for free download in Adobe pdf format.

The founders of Back Pack Safety America have put together a flier for their members to cut and paste to letter head and used to enhance community awareness and participation for the month of April. If you are interested in finding out more about their letter and other educational materials, - e-mail them .

Backpacks Affect Teen Postures

What postural influences do backpacks have on teenagers' spines? To answer this question, researchers evaluated the head-on-neck posture of 985 high school students, aged 12 to 18 years. Specifically, the investigators assessed the craniovertebral angle of subjects wearing backpacks, and not wearing backpacks.

The study found that backpack use significantly altered head-on-neck posture in every age group studied. This finding was most pronounced in younger students. However, increased pack load did not appear to correlate with changes in craniovertebral angle, researchers report - indicating "craniovertebral angle may not be the most sensitive measure of head-on-neck postural change for adolescents."

Grimmer KA, Williams MT, Gill TK   The associations between adolescent head-on-neck posture, backpack weight, and anthropometric features   Spine. 1999 (Nov 1);   24 (21):   2262-2267

Backpack Injury on the Rise

A study conducted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons adds to the growing body of research on the negative impact of backpack use. Investigators surveyed more than 100 physicians at Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois and Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware. The study revealed that backpack injuries are on the rise. In total, 58% of the orthopedists reported seeing patients complaining of back and shoulder pain caused by heavy backpacks. More than 70% of the orthopedists surveyed indicated that heavy backpacks can become a clinical problem in school-age children if not enough attention is made to decrease some of the weight being carried in the packs.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Tells Media That Backpacks Can Cause Problems   American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - October 18, 1999

Stress Linked With Back Pain in Young Adults

Psychological stress during young adulthood more than doubles the risk of low-back pain (LBP), finds an international team of researchers. Investigators interviewed a cohort of people in Britain at age 23 years and again ten years later. In total, 571 reported first experiencing LBP at 32 to 33 years of age. A control group of 5,210 individuals without LBP was also established.

Those who reported psychological distress when they were 23 years old were 2.52 times more likely to suffer from LBP age 33, compared with their less-stressed peers. Persistent moderate or heavy smokers had a significantly bolstered risk of LBP, compared with non-smokers. Social class, childhood emotional status, body mass index and job satisfaction were not related to LBP, after multivariate analyses.

Power C, Frank J, Hertzman C, Schierhout G, Li L.   Predictors of low back pain onset in a prospective British study   Am J Public Health. 2001 (Oct);   91 (10):   1671-1678

Additional Articles and Resources:

The Backpacks Page @ Chiro.Org

Back Packs as a Cause of Repetitive Stress Syndrome

The ICPA endorses the use of Air Pack brand Back Packs. Visit them at

Family Wellness First

The E-newsletter for Parents to make Informed Health Care Choices

Issue 6: Back to School

Back to School bring up several issues parents will make choices about. We have infomation for you on:
1- Back Packs
2- Obesity and Diabetes Rate Increase.

Back Packs:

There has been a raised awarenss about the amount of weight children are required to carry to and from school in their back packs and the potential injury to their developing spines. The following article: is one of many articles that have been published around the continent warning parents about the numerous injuries associated with back pack usage.

The I.C.P.A. has many articles related to this issue which include these growing concerns and helpful tips for the prevention of injury. Please browse the following articles for additional information. , **

Finally, if your child complains of spinal discomfort associated with the use of back packs, find a Doctore of Chiropractic in your area who can help you address these issues before further spinal injury occurs.

Obesity and Diabetes:

Back to school means a more sedentary lifestyle and less parental supervison over our children's daily diet. The rate of childhood obesity is on an alarming increase. Sugars, carbs and "bad fats" are known to cause obesity and yet the American diet is filled with these foods. School lunches and the presence of junk food vending machines in cafeterias are offering our children choices we may not feel so comfortable with. Will it change? Accoding to the release of new federal guidelines--there will not be much support. Aug 27th Reuters reported:

"A U.S. panel of nutrition experts recently proposed new federal dietary guidelines that acknowledged a link between soft drinks and weight gain, but stopped short of recommending that overweight Americans eat less sugar...Consumer groups had hoped the panel would bluntly recommend that Americans limit their consumption of soft drinks and other sugary foods, a view sharply opposed by beverage makers and the sugar industry, who say weight gain is due to many factors....The recommendations included non-controversial language advising consumers to choose their fats and carbohydrates "wisely" and to limit salt and alcohol.

'A reduced intake of added sugars (especially sugar-sweetened beverages) may be helpful in achieving recommended intakes of nutrients and in weight control,' the report said. The experts stopped short of directly urging Americans to cut down on soft drinks, cakes, cookies, pies, candy and other sugar-filled food, saying more research was necessary. Soft drink makers and the sugar industry contend it is unfair to link diabetes to soft drink consumption. They said an unhealthy lifestyle, not a particular food or beverage, increased an individual's risk of developing diabetes."

Although the guidelines have not been released, there is little anticipation that the recommendations will include the reduction of soft drinks. It will be up to us as parents to get to our schools directly and have the junk removed.

This Family Wellness First Issue is co-sponsored by Mothering Magazine

Family Wellness First comes to you as a courtesy of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.

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