Researchers at the University of Malaga warn that a higher load on school bags of more than 20% of the child’s body weight directly affects the biomechanics of walk. As an example, lead author Joaquín Páez said that a child of about 40 kilos should not carry more than 8 kilos on his back to avoid future injuries in hips, feet or back.
For the development of the study, the UMA experts analyzed last year 213 children from different schools in Malaga, between 6 and 12 years.
“What we did was to gradually increase the weight of the backpacks they carried until they completed five different measurements and compare them with parameters such as the distance of the step, the time the foot was in the air or the balance of the march,” explains Gabriel Gijón, another of the authors of the article published in Scientific Reports.
Alterations in the walk
The experts compared the way each child walk, detecting significant changes when they carried 20% or more than their own weight. Most of the analyzed children used to carry more than this 20% of their corporal weight in a daily basis (some even up to 35% more), during a journey exceeding one kilometer.
This effort, according to the experts, in addition to affecting the biomechanics of walk, could affect their musculoskeletal system, causing future injuries to the hips, feet or back. In addition, these lesions would be aggravated if the children already had some basic alteration such as scoliosis or flat feet.