Lifelong Impacts From Backpacks

Can heavy backpacks come with long- term health effects?


Julia Tucker

Innocent-looking backpacks can cause some dangerous problems.

Julia Tucker, Columnist

Horizon Honors does not have any lockers, which means students must carry around all their school belongings. Many question if these heavier backpacks can impact the health of some students. As some parents may suggest rolling backpacks as an easy alternative, they are extremely inconvenient. It is hard to get the rolling backpack up the stairs, and is a bother to other students. 

Backpacks are hurting teens’ backs, and can cause long lasting effects. According to TeensHealth, “Your spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae. Between the vertebrae are disks that act as natural shock absorbers. When you put a heavy weight on your shoulders in the wrong way, the weight’s force can pull you backward. To compensate, you may bend forward at the hips or arch your back. This can cause your spine to compress unnaturally.” Furthermore, if you carry a bag on one shoulder, your spine is working hard to offset the weight, which can cause a lot of damage. Heavy backpacks can also increase your risk of falling and balance destabilization. 

Your backpack is a problem if you have to struggle to get your backpack on or off, if you have to lean forward to carry your pack, or if you have back pain. Unfortunately these are common issues that most students with heavy backpacks have to deal with. These issues can stay for the long run, and can even affect you for the rest of your life. 

To help resolve these problems, it may be in your best interest to try purchasing a backpack with wide padded straps or just simply adjusting the straps so your backpack is not cutting into your shoulders. For Horizon Honors students who have different items for different school days, consider only bringing what you need for that day, and put as much of the weight as close to your back as possible by limiting the amount of items you keep in the outer pockets. A way to tell if you are carrying too much is by weighing your backpack. TeensHealth says that your backpack should only weigh up to ten to fifteen percent of your body weight (Related: some more tips for backpack safety)

To stay happy and healthy, students should try adjusting their backpack situations, as these overweight backpacks can cause health issues and a lack of motivation for some students.