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My 11-year-old grandsons, Stefan and Tomas, weigh about 80 pounds each. On the 20-minute walk to their middle school and the uphill walk home, they carry backpacks that weigh about 12 pounds each, or 15 percent of their body weight.
When extra books or clothing, a musical instrument or other equipment are added, the weight they carry can reach 20 pounds. But whatever the figure, those packs are simply too heavy for their still-forming bones and muscles.
Heavy backpacks don’t just sap children of energy that might be better used doing schoolwork or playing sports. Lugging them can also lead to chronic back pain, accidents and possibly lifelong orthopedic damage.
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