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Vol. 12 - Num. 47

Original Papers

School backpacks and back pain in child population

Susana Alberola Lópeza, I Pérez Garcíaa, Irene Casares Alonsob, A Cano Garcinuñoc, Jesús M. Andrés de Llanod

aPediatra. CS de Jardinillos. Palencia. España.
bPediatra. CS de Venta de Baños. Palencia. España.
cPediatra. CS de Villamuriel de Cerrato. Palencia. España.
dServicio Pediatría. Complejo Asistencial Universitario de Palencia. Palencia. España.

Correspondence: S Alberola. E-mail:

Reference of this article: Alberola López S, Pérez García I, Casares Alonso I, Cano Garcinuño A, Andrés de Llano JM. School backpacks and back pain in child population. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2010;12:385-97.

Published in Internet: 30-09-2010 - Visits: 30494


Introduction: backpacks’ load is worrisome because of the physical effort made by children and its potential relationship with back problems.

Objectives: to know the habits of school bags’ use and its relationship with back pain in the paediatric school population.

Material and methods: cross-sectional observational study in three primary care centres. We analyze anthropometric and demographic variables and we fill in a questionnaire based on previous studies.

Results: one hundred and fifty-nine children were included. They were 80 males y 79 females, aged 11 and 14 years, studying 5º year in primary level (EPO) and 2º year in secondary level (ESO). Sixty-nine percent of them walk to school, 80% carry the backpack in both shoulders, 59% feel tired with it, and 62.3% refer back pain. The mean score of pain is 5 (scale: 0-10). Schoolbag weight is 6.3 kg ± 2. Relative weight is 13.4% ± 5.5 of the children’s body weight and it is not different neither between genders, nor in urban-rural site, but differs between ages (15.5% in 5º EPO, 11.6% in 2º ESO; p < 0.001) and type of school (public: 14.3%; concerted: 12.3%; p = 0.02). The relative weight is higher in those students who feel that the backpack is too heavy (14.2% versus 12.2%; p = 0.02), but it is not in those who refer back pain (13.8% versus 12.7%; p = 0.19). We have not found neither differences in back pain with gender and age, nor association between pain and number of TV/videogames watching hours. There is association between pain and number of extra-school sports hours (the more hours, the less pain: OR [odds ratio]: 0.23; CI [confidence interval] 95%: 0.08-0.7). There is a difference in the psychosomatic symptoms score (scale: 0-18), being higher in those who have back pain (OR 1.37; CI 95%: 1.2-1.6).

Conclusions: the schoolbags’ relative weight is 13.4% ± 5.5. Although we have not found association between back pain and backpack weight, it affects the feeling of discomfort in childhood and it must be considered a health problem.


Back Pain Childhood Schoolbag



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