Xavier’s Student Occupational Therapy Association (XUSOTA) recently hosted an event in the Gallagher Student Center that spread backpack awareness to Xavier students. Students were informed about the health problems associated with heavy backpacks and got the chance to see if their backpack fell within a safe weight range.
To fall within the safe weight range, backpacks must weigh 10 percent or less of an individual’s body weight. To see whether or not their backpack met those guidelines, students were given a slip of paper and more asked to write down their body weight, then multiply it by .10. This number is the maximum weight of the individual’s backpack in the safe weight range.
XUSOTA members then weighed the students backpack and compared the actual weight of the bag with the calculated weight.
Over 100 students stopped at the table and had their backpacks weighed, and approximately half of those students had significantly overweight backpacks. “This is a concern because overweight backpacks, especially over a long period of time, can lead to back pain and neck strain,” explained XUSOTA member Kylie Albert.
Many students were surprised to find that their backpacks were overweight. Sam Mossing, a first-year theology major, attributes her backpack being overweight to convenience. “I don’t like to come back to my room in between every class. I like to stay organized by keeping everything in my backpack, that way I can do homework wherever I want.”
XUSOTA recommends being mindful and minimal of what’s in your backpack by only carrying items that you really need. Additionally, keeping heavy items towards the back of your backpack and lighter items in the front will help prevent back pain and neck strain.
Overall, XUSOTA considered the event a success in educating students about healthy backpack weight, since few students had any prior knowledge on the topic, and they hope to host this event again next year.
By: Emilie Kracik | Guest Writer