Students at Cape Fear Community College will partner with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to conduct a backpack awareness day on Thursday, Sept. 18 to educate children, parents, school administrators, teachers, and communities about the serious health effects on children from backpacks that are too heavy or worn improperly. This local event is part of the National School Backpack Awareness Day, being held by occupational therapy practitioners across the country.
A Backpack Awareness Day “Weigh-In” of students and their backpacks will take place to illustrate the amount of weight that school children are carrying on their backs to and from school each day. Occupational therapy assisting students will weigh backpack-wearing students throughout the day. Students and parents of all ages are invited to attend in the event, which takes place at CFCC’s downtown Wilmington Campus.
The event at CFCC will be on Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the entrance of Tabitha’s Courtyard on Front St.
More than 79 million children and young adults in the U.S. carry heavy loads back and forth to school every day. Experts estimate that about 55 percent of them will be carrying too much weight. Research also shows children carrying overloaded and improperly worn packs are likely to experience neck, shoulder, and back pain; adverse effects on posture and the developing spine; and compromised breathing and fatigue. Some of these injuries continue into adulthood.
AOTA recommends that school backpacks weigh only 10 percent of a child’s weight. The growing awareness of potential long-term problems to children has resulted in increased medical research, and more coverage of the issue in mainstream publications as well as medical journals.
Any further inquiries can be directed to Jennifer Renshaw, director of CFCC’s Occupational Therapy Assisting program at email@example.com or by calling (910) 362-7096. Renshaw is an expert on school ergonomics and the healthy growth and development of school-age children.
Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting accreditation standards, and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, go to www.aota.org.