Trading Backpacks For Rolling Luggage Fails in German Primary School Study

The Chiro.Org Blog

It’s well understood that heavy backpacks are taking a heavy toll (excuse the pun!) on adolescent spines. [1] A recent standing magnetic resonance imaging study by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, at San Diego revealed that: “Increasing backpack loads significantly compressed lumbar disc heights measured in the midline sagittal plane” and that: “student subjects reported significant increases in back pain, associated with increasing backpack loads from 4, to 8, and finally to 12 kgs of carried weight”.

The most recent novel study was performed with German primary school children. [2] The researchers wanted to determine whether giving the children rolling luggage to carry their school books might reduce spinal stress. As it turns out, what might work well for Mom at the airport does not work so well for Junior, lugging his books across uneven sidewalks on the way to school. The authors had to conclude that: “This suggests that school children should use backpacks rather than trolleys when the weight is within recommended limits”.


1. The Backpacks and Children Page

2. Comparison of the Posture of School Children Carrying Backpacks Versus Pulling Them on Trolleys
Clinical Chiropractic 2010 (Dec); 13 (4): 253–260