Healthy Kids & Positive Choices
Physical activity EVERY DAY is important, and especially so, for young, growing bodies.
Children and youth need to learn early that your body is something that should be taken great care of throughout your lifetime. Make teaching healthy habits to your kids a priority and you will watch them grown into healthy adults.
Not only will they have improved fitness and strength, but they will feel great too! Better focus in school and a healthy self image are all positive aspects as well.
View physical activity guidelines for children and youth and get them moving!
For the Early Years 0-4 Years Old:
For Children 5-11 Years Old:
For Youth 12-17 Years Old:
When shopping for back to school items, one item deserves special attention – the backpack. 99% of children carry backpacks to haul everything from their books to their after-school sports equipment.1 Although backpack safety may seem overdone, studies indicate that more than 1 in 3 children still report pain or discomfort from wearing a backpack1, this figure increases to 1 in 2 with heavier loads.
So when it comes to backpacks, what are some practical recommendations?
Choose a backpack that achieves the best fit.
- Choose a pack with straps that are wide and padded to reduce pinching.
- Ensure the pack fits lengthwise between the shoulders and waistline.
- Ensure the pack is not wider than the torso.
Adjust the pack to distribute the weight evenly.
- Use both shoulder straps and waist straps to distribute load.
- Adjust straps so the backpack hangs about 2 inches above the waist line.
- Avoid slinging pack over one shoulder.
Aim to keep the weight of the backpack at about 10% of body weight.
- Pack the heaviest items in inside compartments closest to the torso.
- Take time to distribute weight evenly in side-to-side compartments.
- Where possible, use a locker and switch books between classes.
The weight of the backpack is an important factor in backpack safety. A recent study found that 6 in 10 children carry more than 10% and a further 2 in 10 carry more than 15%.3 Not surprisingly, those with heavier loads report more discomfort. In the short term, overloaded backpacks produce discomfort, poor neck posture, increased spinal disc compression and spinal asymmetry.2,4 The long term consequences have not been studied.
Once your child is back at school, remember to check to see if he/she is experiencing any discomfort due to an ill-fitting or overloaded backpack. Contact a physiotherapist or other health-care professional if you have questions or need help choosing or fitting a backpack.