Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Pain and Its Relation With Weight of Backpacks in School-Going Children in Eastern India

Front Pain Res (Lausanne). 2021 Aug 18:2:684133. doi: 10.3389/fpain.2021.684133. eCollection 2021.


Background: Recently, heavy school backpacks have become a significant concern among parents and health professionals, as well as the media, but evidence for the same is limited in the Indian context. Aim: To find the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain among school-going children and its relationship with backpack weight. Design: Cross-sectional study. Method: This study was carried out among school-going children from grade 6 to 10 with age of 10 to 16 years from an urban and rural location. Schools were selected randomly from all enlisted schools in the district of Khurdha, Odisha state of India. A structured questionnaire was administered to assess symptoms of musculoskeletal pain. Anthropometric measurements along with backpack weight were taken. Statistical Analysis: Chi-square test was performed for categorical variables and Student's t-test for continuous variables. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to identify factors with maximum effect on musculoskeletal pain. Results: The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was 18.8% in the preceding year. Backpacks weights were higher among children of urban schools as compared with rural areas. Children from urban schools were more likely to have pain than those from rural schools (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.41-2.49). Those children with a backpack weight more than 10% of body weight had almost twice the risk of musculoskeletal pain compared to backpack weight less than 10% (OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.4-2.6) in univariate analysis where as no significant association was found on multivariate analysis. Conclusion: The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was high in school-going children. In children, carrying higher backpack weight, and a higher percentage of the backpack to bodyweight had a significant association with musculoskeletal pain. Gender, height, body mass index, and backpack weight to body weight > 10% had no association with musculoskeletal pain.

Keywords: back pain; backpack; bag weight; musculoskeletal pain; school bag.