Kids Carrying Too Much Weight on Backs

Half of all primary school students carry backpacks that are too heavy, the Israeli Consumer Council found from a study conducted at the end of the last school year.

Of the 550 students from 13 elementary schools, half were found to have bookbags that exceeded the weight standard. The Education Ministry states that elementary schoolers should be not carrying more than 15 percent of their own body weight on their backs.

Seventy-two percent of all first-graders had excessively heavy backpacks, while 64 percent of second- and third-graders did. The percentages dropped as children got older - and heavier.

In an extreme case, the council found one 28-kilogram second grader carrying an 11-kilogram bag.

"The Education Ministry's mandatory instructions, which are meant to protect the children's health, have no effect on the school's implementation - or the ministry's own enforcement," the council stated.