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The Bag

The students struggled to walk steadily before they were able to carry a school bag on their shoulders. Their parents had to hold and support them, as they were at risk of almost falling. Many people might have had this experience as fathers, mothers, guardians, or even as “students.”

How heavy of a “burden” are these young students to carry daily?


Guess it

Which students carry an excessive weight of school bags?


Why can we tell the excessive weight of a school bag? What is the measurement?

The visual will unveil the answer. These heavy “bags” may inadvertently become burdens in the future.

What will happen if you carry an overweight school bag ?

Muscle pain

Experiencing muscle pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, and waist due to heavy bags pressing on them.

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Bent back and Kyphosis

Carrying heavy bags made the children bend down to balance. When the back becomes more bent than usual, it can result in scoliosis, leading to injury.


Carrying a heavy bag on only one shoulder can lead to uneven back muscle function and possible scoliosis.

These problems can lead to acute effects such as muscle tightness and pain. These symptoms can occur from carrying heavy objects and can lead to chronic injuries in the long term. Some children may experience chronic back pain, and an unseen issue is that in children aged 7-9 years old, their bones are still growing but may not reach full potential.”

Assoc. Prof. Adisak Plitponkarnpim, MD 

Director of National Institute for Child and Family Development, Mahidol University

Listen to the explanations from Associate Professor Adisak Plitponkarnpim in the full version by clicking on this video below…

Play Video

A heavy school bag this is a real problem !

(Click on the green button to read the news)

When considering research in Thailand and overseas, Associate Professor Adisak recommended a safe way to carry a school bag. The bag’s weight should be at most 10% of the average weight of the student’s age or not exceed 20% in the worst-case scenario.

We propose a median indicator, which states that students should not carry a bag weighing over 15% of the average weight of the student’s age.

Mainly are the students in Grade 2, Grade 3, and Grade 4 and over 50-60% of them are carrying a heavy bag

It is consistent with the studies on students’ weight conducted by the Child Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Center at the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, in collaboration with the Foundation for Consumers. They randomly weighed the school bags of 368 students in Grades 1 to 6. Findings indicate that students in Grades 1-3 are at high risk of injury from carrying heavy school bags.


When considering only the students who carry a bag that exceeds 10% and 20% of the average weight by age, we find…

The students in Grades 1-3, over 25%, carry a bag weighing more than 20%, which is categorized as dangerously heavy and may affect muscles and backbones.

Over 80% of the students carry bags heavier than 10% of the average weight for their age, which is considered improper and needs to be addressed.

What is the ideal weight for a school bag ?

Male students
Female students
Male students
Female students

However, even though there is a warning about the dangers of carrying a heavy school bag, it is indisputable that many “students” still struggle with this issue, like the sample group in the research.

Such as “Miki”

Miki is in 1st grade at a private school in Bangkok. The school offers 2 options for a school bag.

Even Miki prefers the wheeled bag, but we must admit that the classroom on the 4th floor makes it harder. Walking up and down the stairs daily and using the wheeled bag is difficult for her.

How much does Miki’s bag weigh ?

The wheeled bag 

2 kilograms

It’s difficult to use in practice because it must be carried by one hand instead of being dragged, and it must be lifted when walking up the stairs. She can use the bag’s wheels when walking on a flat surface in front of the classroom and activity space for the parents to drop off and pick up their children,”

said Miki’s mother.


1 kilogram

Miki’s mother confirmed that using the regular backpack is more versatile.

This does not include books, notebooks, documents, a pencil box, a water bottle, or a toy keychain attached to the bag’s zipper. 

It has recently become common for elementary students to carry cartoon-themed bags, which may become heavy and burdensome despite holding only a few small items. Miki is one of the students who carries such a bag. 

Miki’s parents want her to use a regular bag for school because it’s lighter.

(Slide to open Miki’s bag)

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Weigh Miki's bag according to the subject timetable. Is it heavy or not ?

Miki’s assessment  

Miki is seven years old and weighs 18 kilograms. If we calculate by the principle of 15% (the average weight by age is 22 kilograms) 


Miki should not carry a bag weighing more than 3.3 kilograms. Therefore, if she uses a wheeled bag, she will carry a bag that exceeds 15% of her body weight. But if she uses a regular backpack, she will not carry over 15% of her body weight. 


Notes: Miki weighs less than the standard. Based on a 15% guideline that compared with the actual weight, she shouldn’t carry a bag weighing over 2.7 kilograms. 


It can be concluded that no matter which bag Miki uses, she carries an overweight bag. 

Read More

Turn back time, sharing ‘weird things’ carried to school.

The option for addressing a heavy bag

A wheeled bag 

Associate Professor Adisak mentioned that it would be lighter because there would be no need to carry it, so there would be no excessive weight causing back pain.


However, it has a disadvantage as it can easily cause accidents, such as when climbing stairs and getting caught on something.


Sometimes, the road surface is not suitable for dragging the wheeled bag, so it may have to be lifted rather than dragged. This leads to carrying the bag on only one side, which requires caution. 

A bookcase at school

Associate Professor Adisak mentioned that overseas schools have bookcases, as depicted in movies. When students arrive at school, they head straight to their lockers. Schools in Thailand should consider implementing this.


It has been said that there is no budget, and although there is some space under the desk to store items, many schools do not allow it. 

E – learning

Associate Professor Adisak stated that technology can help reduce weight but must be approached cautiously. For instance, providing electronic devices for students, but some teachers still require students to bring textbooks, which adds to the overweight. 


Meanwhile, allowing students to use electronic devices without regulation may cause a bigger problem than carrying an overweight bag. 

Organizing subject timetable

Associate Professor Adisak said organizing a bag by bringing minimal stuff is another option.

Everyone must help with the planning. Teachers can inform students in advance about which documents or textbooks they need to bring.


Parents can help by organizing their child’s school bag and ensuring they do not bring items unrelated to learning, such as toys. 

Carrying the bag correctly can also help

The bag fits – spreading the weight 

A good backpack should be the right size for the student’s back and have 2 shoulder straps that are at least 6 centimeters wide. Narrower straps may cause shoulder pressure, affecting the muscles and nerves. 


The bag should have plenty of pockets and evenly distribute the weight across it rather than concentrating it on one side. 

Adjusting the straps to the correct position

When using a backpack, it is essential to adjust the straps so that the bag is closer to the back and not hanging low.


Points to be noted: The bag bottom should not stay below the waist. Users should walk upright and not lean forward, as it can cause weight shifting and back pain.

Remember not to carry a bag using only one shoulder 

It is important to use both straps when carrying a backpack, as this helps to balance the weight.


While carrying the backpack using only one shoulder may look cool, it is bad for distributing the weight and can lead to a high risk of neck, shoulder, and back pain. 

And what about you ? Which options are the best way to address “The small bearer” for now ?


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