Investigation of the relationship between carrying school bags (handbags and backpacks) and the prevalence of musculoskeletal pains among 12-15 year old students in Shiraz

Pak J Biol Sci. 2014 Apr;17(4):550-4. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2014.550.554.


Inappropriate school bags put students at risk of musculoskeletal problems and early fatigue. Heavy bags can change the body posture and the musculoskeletal system must react appropriately in order to compensate for this stress. It is recommended that the weight of a school bag must not be more than 10% of the student's body weight and the weight must be placed on both shoulders. The present study aimed to identify the risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders by comparing the prevalence of musculoskeletal pains among the students. The present descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in different educational districts of Shiraz. The study samples were selected using cluster sampling method. In this study, 800 students marked their painful areas on body maps and the SPSS statistical software (v. 11.5) was used to analyze the data. The results showed that among the students who used backpacks, 48.9% carried the weight on both shoulders, 40.4% carried the weight on their right shoulders, and 10.6% used their left shoulders. Besides, 68.02% of the students carrying handbags often used their right shoulders, while 31.98% used their left shoulders. The study results showed that similar to other countries, Iranian students also mostly made use of backpacks. Moreover, the musculoskeletal pains were most prevalent in the shoulders, which is in line with many other studies conducted on the issue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prevalence
  • Shoulder / physiopathology*
  • Students*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight-Bearing