BU Sargent College Occupational Therapy Students Participate in the 4th Annual Backpack Awareness Day at St. Mary’s School in Brookline

Contact: Courtney de Lacy, 617-353-0197 | cdelacy@bu.edu

(Boston) – Boston University (BU) College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College announced today that it is partnering with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to conduct a backpack awareness day on Wednesday, September 15. This local, annual event helps to educate children, parents, school administrators, teachers, and the Boston community about the serious health problems associated with wearing a backpack improperly and is part of National Backpack Awareness Day, which is being held in schools and community centers across the country.

WHAT: Over 200 students (Pre-K – grade 8) of St. Mary’s of the Assumption School in Brookline, Massachusetts will participate in a Backpack Awareness Day “Weigh-In” of their backpacks. The weigh-in hopes to educate the students, teachers and parents of the proper way to wear a backpack and to illustrate the amount of weight that school children are carrying on their backs. Carrying too much weight in a pack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to aching back and shoulders, weakened muscles, and stooped posture.

WHERE: St. Mary of the Assumption School
67 Harvard Street Brookline, Massachusetts

WHEN: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 from 12:00 – 1:30pm EDT

WHY: The start of a new academic year is a reminder that more than 40 million American school children will be wearing a backpack to and from school every day. The AOTA recommends that school backpacks weigh no more than 15% of a child’s weight. The proper way to pack a backpack to minimize long-term health problems is to load the heaviest items closest to the child’s back and to arrange the books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.

The growing awareness of the issue over the last couple years has resulted in an increase in medical research, and more coverage of the issue in medical journals.

WHO: Karen Jacobs, Ed.D, OTR/L, CPE, clinical professor of occupational therapy at BU Sargent College is the national spokesperson for the AOTA. In her seventh year participating in National School Backpack Awareness Day, Jacobs is an expert on school ergonomics and the healthy growth and development of school-age children. Jacobs will be coordinating the “weigh-in” activities at St. Mary’s school, along with the help of BU Sargent College occupational therapy students, and will be available to answer questions about the proper use of backpacks.

Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College is an institution of higher education, research and clinical centers whose leading academic programs prepare dynamic health professionals to best serve the healthcare needs of society. As reported by US News and World Report, its graduate programs are ranked within the top 15% in the country. For more information and to learn about degree programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, language and hearing sciences, health science, athletic training, and nutrition, visit http://www.bu.edu/sargent.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.