Yuri Sendzimir/the Mirror

Loading book after book into a bag that may be fashionable yet not very supportive is not just a concern that only affects elementary, middle and high school students anymore.

The issue of a heavy backpack for students is a serious one, but is it all that common at the college level?

“We don’t see it a lot on campus because I think it actually affects high school kids a lot more than college kids since high school kids have to carry backpacks through the entire day,” said Judith Weindling, Director of the Health Center at Fairfield University.

Students who carry backpacks around campus may find the weight lighter, as opposed to in high school, because they are not carrying seven classes worth of material around. But does that mean that we should ditch the supportive backpacks? According to Weindling, we need the support to prevent future back injuries.

“Backpacks are made to distribute the weight correctly, but most students swing them on one shoulder or they buy backpacks that don’t have enough support or padding,” said Weindling, “It’s the choice of the backpack and the way that you use it more than the fact that you are filling it up.”

In grade school, walking to and from classes or from home to school with a heavy backpack not only hurt, but could also eventually lead to serious injury.  A heavy backpack, which according to kidshealth.org is “20 percent of a child’s body weight,” can injure joints and muscles. It can also lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain according to thedailyfairfield.com.

So now that we pack our own bags for class everyday, whether it is a backpack or side bag, how are we doing in regards to keeping the weight safe?

“My backpack is a lot lighter now than it was in high school,” said Michelle Onofrio’11. “In high school you didn’t have enough time in between your seven classes to go back to your locker so you were carrying seven books throughout the entire day.  Now, I may only have three classes a day, so I have time to drop off books,” she said. Onofrio chooses to use a backpack.

Aside from the much lighter workload, there are other reasons for students to pass on the backpack.

“I like to carry a bag because it’s fashionable. Also, I don’t carry a backpack on some days because I only have three classes and found myself not needing it,” said Anne Nieuwenhuis ’11.

So whether it be practicality or a fashion statement, it seems that on a college campus it’s easier for students to make a conscious choice without any kind of health risk. It’s not really about how heavy your backpack is, it’s how you wear it and if the backpack has enough support.  A backpack is used for walking to and from classes, so if a student were to run around with a backpack on, they are more susceptible to injury according to Weindling.

“Even with the best intentions, if you make a move that’s not just walking you have a higher chance to hurt yourself. People need to remember what backpacks are made for in order to avoid injury,” said Weindling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.