1. Thompson, Maria

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Dear Mary,


My name is Maria Thompson and I am in the 5th grade in Encinitas, California. I recently did my first science fair project looking at the weight of backpacks school children carry or pull and whether they are too heavy and cause injury. A week after I completed the project, I saw the article in the Orthopaedic Nursing journal and it seemed very similar to my project. I wanted to tell you of my results.


I surveyed 2 classes (54 students) and asked if they had pain with their neck, shoulder, or back. I also weighed their backpacks and their bodies and calculated the percentage weight that their backpacks were to their body. I was surprised at what I found.


Thirty-eight of the 54 student carried backpacks greater than 15% (the guideline AAOS recommends for safe weight) of their body weight. The average weight of the backpack pulled on wheels was 16.8 pounds and weight of backpacks carried by students was 19.8 pounds. Students carried backpacks that weighed 23% of their body weight and pulled backpacks that weighed 48% of body weight. Of the 31 students that carried backpacks, 16% reported neck, 42% shoulder, 52% back, and 10% muscle problems.


Based on the results of my findings, I too agree with the journal article and believe that student's backpacks are too heavy. I believe they should be lightened and possibly prevent any future problems students could have with upper body injuries. Through my background reading and your article, I learned safe guidelines and ways to prevent injuries from heavy backpacks. Thank you for letting me share my project with you. Enclosed is a picture of me standing next to the display board.


Sincerely, Maria Thompson

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