Irish school children are still being made to carry bags that exceed government recommendations, it has been revealed.
Writing for the Irish Independent, Michael Lynch, who carried out a study on the issue in 2006, noted that a government working group report in 2008 recommended that 12-year-old pupils carry books weighing no more than 3.7 kg.
However, he pointed out that average student of this age has a school bag weighing 11.8 kg.
"Under the 1989 Health Safety and Welfare Act, all employees must have, by law, manual-handling training given to them by their employers. No such legislation exists to protect students from lifting school bags that are too heavy," Mr Lynch commented.
He added that many of the adults currently suffering with back problems could have had their spines damaged during childhood as a result of this.
News-Medical.net reported last year that by time they reach their teenage years, 50 per cent of children will have experienced at least one episode of back pain.