School Posture Education Improves Healthy Backpack Use

Significant improvement in healthy backpack use habits post-intervention, three months later

THURSDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A postural education program can significantly improve healthy backpack use habits among school children, according to a study published in the November issue of the European Spine Journal.

Josep Vidal, of the University of Balearic Islands in Palma of Majorca, Spain, and associates conducted a group-randomized trial involving 137 children aged 10 to 12 years to determine the effect of a postural education program on backpack habits related to low back pain. A questionnaire was completed at pre-test, post-test, and three months after the intervention by an experimental group (63 children) who underwent postural education over six weeks and a control group (74 children) who followed the usual school curriculum. A sum score was computed based on four outcomes: loading minimum weight; carrying a backpack on two shoulders; belief that backpack weight has no impact on the back; and use of a locker or similar storage at school.

After the intervention and at three-month follow-up, the researchers found that single healthy outcomes mainly improved in the experimental group, while no changes were seen in the control group. Compared with baseline, at post-test there was a significant improvement in the healthy backpack use habits score in the experimental group, which remained significantly increased at the three-month follow-up. In the control group there were no significant changes observed.

"Our results are promising and suggest that incorporating back care education in the training of future primary school teachers, and also encourage researchers to carry out intervention studies to determine the best way to reduce the prevalence of back pain, especially among children," the authors write.

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