Overweight school bags may be condemning too many of the nation’s children to a lifetime of back pain and adding to the £481 million that the NHS currently spends on treating back pain each year.
School bags are routinely carried around school all day, not worn properly and often containing too much. And they are sometimes designed more for looks than for health. There is now growing medical evidence that some of the UK’s children may be paying a heavy price for looking cool and having nowhere to put their books and equipment between lessons.
Parents can help to protect their children’s health by ensuring that they have a correctly fitted, ergonomically efficient school bag. Up until now part of the problem has definitely been the fashion factor, with few suitable alternatives to the rows of branded bags in the local sports shop. But one UK company now sells a school bag that not only looks good, but also makes a major contribution to spinal health.
The SPI® Ergonomic School Bag has just been launched in the UK. The bags are manufactured in the Far East, endorsed by the Chiropractic Doctors Association of Hong Kong, and are already very popular in South East Asia. They are available to buy online from the ESB Web site at http://store.ergonomicschoolbags.co.uk and come with full fitting instructions and advice on good posture. There are two sizes in a range of colours for both younger and older children, with a hardwearing reflective finish to increase visibility during winter mornings and evenings.
The SPI® school bag is designed so that the bag sits in the best position on the back to protect a child’s spine. The straps and padding distribute the load evenly to reduce stress on key muscles and joints in the back, neck and shoulders. Adjustable ‘parachute’ shoulder straps ensure a snug fit once the bag is in place.
The leading charity for healthier backs, BackCare, has identified the weight and design of school bags as a significant factor in the steady increase in back pain reported amongst children and young people. BackCare also cites poorly designed school furniture, the lack of adequate storage facilities in schools and a lack of exercise amongst your people as contributing to a growing problem. BackCare reports that as many as 50% of children are experiencing some level of back discomfort by the age of 15.
BackCare awareness week 2005 is 17-23 October and BackCare is leading the campaign to protect children from back pain through more information and for measures to ensure that schools must provide adequate storage and better furniture.
Parents can help by encouraging good posture, by encouraging their children to take in only what they need each day in their bags and by making sure that the bags they use are up to the job, especially while young bones are still developing.
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All Media enquiries to: Lindsey Beagle
Tel +44 (0)1753 655161
Fax +44 (0)1753 655571
Notes for Editors:
Ergonomic School Bags Ltd is the sole UK importer of the SPI® Ergonomic School Bag. This innovative bag is the brainchild of a retired teacher and is now available in the UK for the first time. The bags provide an effective, practical solution to a serious and much overlooked problem. The company’s founder Lindsey Beagle is herself a mother of two and created the company to import and distribute the one bag that she found which really helped her own children to avoid back pain. For further information on the SPI® Ergonomic School Bag, please go to Ergonomic School Bags (UK) Ltd
According to BackCare, the charity for healthier backs, b ack pain is a major health problem, affecting approximately 17.3 million people in the UK – over one third of the adult population. Over the course of a year, around 3.5 million people experience back pain for the first time and for 3.1 million people their pain lasts throughout the whole year. It affects men and women equally. According to Department of Health statistics, back pain costs British industry an annual £5 billion and the NHS £481 million each year
On its website, www.backcare.org.uk, BackCare also reports that studies across Europe show that back pain is very common in children. Around 50% experiencing back pain at some time, although a recent study from France recorded four out of five children having back pain in the last year. In that study the weight of their book bags was one of the strongest predictors. Other predictive values have been age; most studies have found back pain more common in girls; and there is an association between non-specific low back pain in parents and their children.