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Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. And when used properly, they're incredibly handy.

Many packs feature multiple compartments that help students stay organized while they tote their books and papers from home to school and back again. Compared with shoulder bags, messenger bags, or purses, backpacks are better because the strongest muscles in the body — the back and the abdominal muscles — support the weight of the packs.

When worn correctly, the weight in a backpack is evenly distributed across the body, and shoulder and neck injuries are less common than if someone carried a briefcase or purse.

As practical as backpacks are, though, they can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they're too heavy or are used incorrectly. Here's how to help kids find the right backpack.

Problems Backpacks Can Pose

Although many factors can lead to back pain — increased participation in sports or exercise, poor posture while sitting, and long periods of inactivity — some kids have backaches because they're lugging around their entire locker's worth of books, school supplies, and assorted personal items all day long. But most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs.

To know how heavy backpacks can affect a kid's body, it helps to understand how the back works. The spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae, and between the vertebrae are discs that act as natural shock absorbers.

When a heavy weight, such as a backpack filled with books, is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight's force can pull a child backward. To compensate, a child may bend forward at the hips or arch the back, which can cause the spine to compress unnaturally. The heavy weight might cause some kids to develop shoulder, neck, and back pain.

Kids who wear their backpacks over just one shoulder — as many do, because they think it looks better or just feels easier — may end up leaning to one side to offset the extra weight. They might develop lower and upper back pain and strain their shoulders and neck.

Improper backpack use can also lead to poor posture. Girls and younger kids may be especially at risk for backpack-related injuries because they're smaller and may carry loads that are heavier in proportion to their body weight.

Also, backpacks with tight, narrow straps that dig into the shoulders can interfere with circulation and nerves. These types of straps can contribute to tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands.

And bulky or heavy backpacks don't just cause back injuries. Other safety issues to consider:

  • Kids who carry large packs often aren't aware of how much space the packs take up and can hit others with their packs when turning around or moving through tight spaces, such as the aisles of the school bus.
  • Students are often injured when they trip over large packs or the packs fall on them.
  • Carrying a heavy pack changes the way kids walk and increases the risk of falling, particularly on stairs or other places where the backpack puts the student off balance.
  • Purchasing A Safe Pack

Despite their potential problems, backpacks are an excellent tool for kids when used properly. But before you buy that trendy new backpack your kid or teen has been begging you for, consider the backpack's construction.

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Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. And when used properly, they're incredibly handy.

Many packs feature multiple compartments that help students stay organized while they tote their books and papers from home to school and back again. Compared with shoulder bags, messenger bags, or purses, backpacks are better because the strongest muscles in the body — the back and the abdominal muscles — support the weight of the packs.

When worn correctly, the weight in a backpack is evenly distributed across the body, and shoulder and neck injuries are less common than if someone carried a briefcase or purse.

As practical as backpacks are, though, ...

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Obesity Makes Children a Target for Bullying

PAM HARRISON

May 4, 2010 — Obese children are more likely to be bullied than their nonobese peers regardless of sex, race, socioeconomic status (SES), social skills, or academic achievement, according to a University of Michigan study published online May 3 in Pediatrics. This suggests that they are being bullied because of their weight and not for other reasons.

Julie Lumeng, MD, University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, and colleagues found that obese children were almost twice as likely to be bullied (odds ratio, 1.8) than their peers who were not obese based on their unadjusted analysis. Children who were overweight were 1.2 times more likely to be bullied than children wh...

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I am really happy to see these changes.... One change is having more daily allowance of fat and less of carbs, what are your thoughts?

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I talked to an 18 year old who said she wanted to get her swagger and flow right. She has friends using cocaine, meth and Molly's for weight loss...and her question was which one do I think is the best! (She was serious...Is this a common perception?)

Do you know someone who does this or feels this way?

I'd like to dedicate blog to answer questions people are too shy to ask. If you have a question you'd like to ask discretely, simply call the Dr. Fitness Helpline 888.607.5275.

Although some people, including celebrities, have used cocaine and speed or meth to lose weight, it comes with a lot of nasty side effects and legal consequences.

Why are these drugs used?Because they can cause extremely rapid weight loss. However, the effects are ...

Read more

I talked to an 18 year old who said she wanted to get her swagger and flow right. She has friends using cocaine, meth and Molly's for weight loss...and her question was which one do I think is the best! (She was serious...Is this a common perception?)

Do you know someone who does this or feels this way?

I'd like to dedicate blog to answer questions people are too shy to ask. If you have a question you'd like to ask discretely, simply call the Dr. Fitness Helpline 888.607.5275.

Although some people, including celebrities, have used cocaine and speed or meth to lose weight, it comes with a lot of nasty side effects and legal consequences.

Why are these drugs used?Because they can cause extremely rapid weight loss. However, the effects are ...

Read more

I talked to an 18 year old who said she wanted to get her swagger and flow right. She has friends using cocaine, meth and Molly's for weight loss...and her question was which one do I think is the best! (She was serious...Is this a common perception?)

Do you know someone who does this or feels this way?

I'd like to dedicate blog to answer questions people are too shy to ask. If you have a question you'd like to ask discretely, simply call the Dr. Fitness Helpline 888.607.5275.

Although some people, including celebrities, have used cocaine and speed or meth to lose weight, it comes with a lot of nasty side effects and legal consequences.

Why are these drugs used?Because they can cause extremely rapid weight loss. However, the effects are ...

Read more

1. Pooping wrong killing you slowing and making you fat? What could be simpler than taking a good crap? Even babies are good at it. You might be surprised, then, to find out that even those of us who can burp without throwing up get this wrong every single day. Chances are the pooping facility nearest you is a sitting toilet, for the full story

2. Tooth Brushing making you teeth rotten and you sick?: Bad breath is a great way to lose new friends. Nobody wants to talk to or sit next to someone whose breath is outlawed and cosidered torture by the government. So thank goodness we learned to brush our teeth so much. Well, actually, our obsessive-compulsive tooth-brushing practices lead to deteriorating oral health... want to know more?

3. S...

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Celebrating the 4th of July is meant to be enjoyed, but you don’t have to sacrifice your health or beach body every time you attend a BBQ. These 6 BBQ survival tips can save you hundreds of calories you won’t even miss, and keep your health and fitness goals on track.

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Dr. Fitness 6 Healthy Eating Tips for Your 4th of July BBQ

1. Use small plates

People who choose smaller plates eat less without even noticing it. The difference can be 50% less calories, yet claim the same level of fullness and satisfaction. Try borrowing a plate from the kids table or the dessert tray.

2. Eat slowly and mindfully

People who eat more slowly, eat fewer calories over the course of a meal. BBQs are a perfect opportunity to pace yourself as you mix and mingle with friends and family. The more you’re chatting, the less you’re eating.

3. Eat healthiest foods first

If you are eating slowly and off small plates, you may as well fill up on the healthiest stuff first. Salads are a great place to start because watery vegetables slow digestion and have very few calories. Try to choose something with oil and protein as well, because these will help you feel full sooner.

4. Skip the chips, crackers and bread

Refined carbohydrates are the worst things you can eat because they offer little satisfaction, loads of calories and dangerous insulin spikes. BBQs are filled with wonderful food, so do yourself a favor and save your calories for the really good stuff.

You don’t have to eat your burger without a bun, but pass on the pointless chips and other snacks that lure you when you’re not thinking.

5. Keep dessert small

The difference between a large slice of cake and a smaller slice of cake can literally be hundreds of calories. And to reiterate, sugar and refined carbohydrates are the most dangerous foods. You don’t have to pass on dessert completely, but keep your portion sizes in check for this course.

6. Think before you drink

There is a place for alcohol in a healthy lifestyle, but making smart choices can be the difference between losing or gaining weight (not to mention your self-control). One sugary margarita can have 600-800 calories. That means 3 margaritas is more food than you should be consuming in an entire day. Is that really worth it? Stick with wine or beer, drink plenty of water and remember to pace yourself.

Small tricks can save you hundreds and potentially thousands of wasted calories that you will never notice or miss. Why sacrifice your waistline, is it really worth it?

Improve Your Summer Body, Join Dr. Fitness and Friends. We all at I-Heart Media Care about YOU!

For More Tips on exercise and Nutrition in the heat Download The FREE

FITNESS SCHEDULING APP TODAY!!!

FOR ANDROID USERS

FOR iOS USERS

For more Summer Body Plan information text, the Dr. Fitness Helpline 904.236.5858

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