MSOT/OTA Students Host Backpack Awareness Day & Visit the First Baptist Child Development Center

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - 11:30am
Third floor Lobby of Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital on the Jefferson College campus & First Baptist Child Development Center

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant Programs at Jefferson College of Health Sciences partnered with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to host the 2014 Backpack Awareness Day on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. The activity took place in the Third floor Lobby of Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital on the Jefferson College campus.

This event is held to educate students, faculty, staff and the community about the serious health effects on students from backpacks that are too heavy or worn improperly. This local event is part of the National School Backpack Awareness Day, being held by occupational therapy practitioners across the country.

A Backpack Awareness Day “weigh-in” of backpacks and bags will take place to illustrate the amount of weight that students are carrying on their backs to and from school each day. Occupational therapy students will weigh the backpacks and bags of students, faculty and staff.

More than 79 million children and young adults in the U.S. carry heavy loads back and forth to school every day. Experts estimate that about 55 percent of them will be carrying too much weight. Research also shows students carrying overloaded and improperly worn packs are likely to experience neck, shoulder, and back pain; adverse effects on posture and the developing spine; and compromised breathing and fatigue. Some of these injuries continue into adulthood.

AOTA recommends that school backpacks weigh only 10 percent of a student's weight. The growing awareness of potential long-term problems to students has resulted in increased medical research, and more coverage of the issue in mainstream publications as well as medical journals.

In addition, the MSOT and OTA students visited the First Baptist Child Development Center to work with teachers and students on their pediatric developmental project. This project is part of their OT Peds coursework.

More About AOTA

Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting accreditation standards, and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, go to