Special Report

How School Backpacks Have Changed Over the Last Few Decades


To find out what school backpacks looked like the year you were born, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a variety of media sources to compile its list. 

Detailed findings

If not worn correctly, backpacks can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they’re too heavy. Experts at the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggest students carry no more than 10% of their body weight. Overloaded backpacks can pull a student backward, so to compensate, the student bends forward at the hips. This can cause the spine to compress and the shoulders to become rounded and can lead to shoulder, neck, and back pain. Carrying a heavy backpack also increases the risk of falling.

Students are advised to buy backpacks with two wide, padded straps and consider one with a waist belt. Backpacks should be packed with the heaviest items closest to the back. Item weight should be distributed evenly.

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