Association of Heavy School Bags with Musculoskeletal Discomfort among Primary School Children of Islamabad, Pakistan
Background: Musculoskeletal disorders, an increasing concern among school going children, primarily affect muscles and tendons. They lead to secondary damage to nerves and joints in the neck, upper back, shoulders, arms, and hands, etc. The objective of this study was to determine the association of carrying heavy school bags with musculoskeletal discomfort among primary school children in government schools of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Material and Methods: This cross-sectional survey was conducted in different government schools of Islamabad, Pakistan from June 2018 to November 2018. After an informed consent from parents, 377 healthy school going children aged 6-14 years were included in this study. Data was collected through Backpack Questionnaire. Chi square test was used to compare the frequency of musculoskeletal discomfort with demographic characteristics and backpack-related features. P-value less than .05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: Mean age of the school children was 9.49 ± 1.53 years with 179 (46.9%) male and 203 (53.1%) female students. Majority of students (89.8%) were found with school bags more than 15% of their body weight. Shoulder pain was the most commonly reported complaint (67.3%). There was a significant association between pain and perceived backpack weight (P=.001), and between pain and self-perceived posture (P=.001). Leaning forward (66.2%) was the most commonly adopted posture followed by leaning sideways (15.4%) and stooping (2.9%), respectively. The association between pain and duration of carrying backpack from home to school was insignificant (P=.055) in contrast to pain and duration of carrying bag from school to home (P=.007), respectively.
Conclusions: Musculoskeletal discomfort was found commonly among primary school children with shoulder pain being the most frequent, as maximum students were carrying heavy school bags.
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