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Carrying Too Much

Backpack Awareness

The numbers don't lie.  More than 50% of students carry a backpack that is heavier than the recommended guideline of 15% of their body weight, that's according to the American Occupational Therapy Association.  In honor of Backpack Awareness Day, occupational therapy students from Eastern Kentucky University were on campus Tuesday, weighing backpacks, purses, and briefcases to show people just how many pounds they're carrying on their shoulders

     "We've weighed about 15 backpacks today and the average is about 17 pounds," says Michael Pafunda.

     And some were surprised.

     "I was kind of shocked.  I think that's about a sixth of my body weight so it's not very good.  I was really shocked.  I didn't think it would weigh that much at all and I  actually unloaded it this morning so usually it would've been about 5 pounds more," explains Tiffany Evans.

     They also showed people the proper way to carry that load in order to prevent neck, shoulder and back pain.  .

     "If you're carrying a purse or a diaper bag or something like that, you want to make sure that you have the straps a little bit shorter so it's a little bit snug because the closer it is to your body, the better and you want to alternate between the side.  When I wear my backpack, I want to wear it snug, so I want to wear it up close.  I want it to have thick shoulder pads," comments Pafunda.

     And many say they're going to change their habits.

     "I will definitely sort my stuff differently, put the heavy stuff on the right side and make it high, on my back, on the curve," says Michael Rhodus.

     Some of those students will be at Kingston Elementary School on Thursday for another backpack awareness event.


Published on September 21, 2011

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