Backpacks and Diet: Common Factors Affecting our Children
Even though an iPad can store an entire library worth of books, most kids still trudge to and from school each day carrying an oversized and overweight backpack filled with heavy textbooks.
While it may not seem like a big deal, recent studies have shown that carrying the weight of a typical backpack is one of the top reasons for kids to have back pain.
Why it Matters:
A vast majority of kids wear backpacks every day that weigh 6-7kg or more. That’s a heavy backpack! Over time, the stress of the load can result in back pain, a rounding of the shoulders and postural changes. The spinal compression caused by heavy backpacks often has kids leaning forward to compensate, which begins a vicious cycle of postural issues, compensation and pain.
- Up to 30% of kids may suffer from back pain due to carrying a heavy backpack.
- Limiting the total weight of the backpack to less than 10% of your child’s body weight is recommended.
- Instruct your child to wear their backpack with both shoulder straps fit snugly, so the backpack isn’t carried below the waistline.
Kids typically choose their backpack based on what makes them look cool. We recommend taking a second look and making sure the straps are wide and padded, the size is appropriate (and not too big) and that it has compartments to help distribute the load. If your child has pain, numbness, or tingling, give us a call. We would be happy to help get them back on track!
Developing a Healthy Child
“It takes a village to raise a child.” You’ve probably heard that quote in the past, and there is a lot of truth behind it. During childhood and adolescence, our bodies and minds grow at an unprecedented rate and set the foundation for the rest of our life. Our development is forged through the challenges and new experiences we encounter growing up. Top researchers have discovered that our experiences around food, movement and exercise play a massive role in our future health and even our susceptibility to disease processes as we age!
Why it Matters:
Developing a healthy child isn’t easy. The ease of modern living includes everything from food delivery to instant downloads of the latest video games. Yet, if you’re like me, there still never seems to be enough time! It can be challenging to encourage healthy habits for ourselves and our kids.
However, a little bit of effort today can pay huge dividends down the road. The number of children in the past 20 years who are now classified as overweight or obese has skyrocketed and, as a result, many of the medical conditions which were typically associated with adults is now afflicting our kids.
- Eating healthy and staying physically active can help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- Researchers have found that sugar is tied to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity.
- Encouraging healthy habits around food and physical activity early in life can help your child live a longer, healthier life.
If you’ve struggled with successfully developing healthy habits around exercise and eating in your home, let us know. We have a variety of resources we would be happy to share. We believe that a “village” of community members who are proactive about health and wellness can make a huge difference in the growth and development of our children, leading to happier and healthier lives!
Author: Dr. Michael Bryant