A petition signed by more than 5,000 people, among them specialists in orthopedics, advocates urgent measures to reduce the weight of students’ backpacks and calls for the intervention of the Assembly of the Republic to legislate on the matter.
Thirteen years after a study by the Consumer Protection Association (DECO) found that more than half of children in their fifth and sixth years of schooling carry more weight in their backpacks, the signatories of this petition urge the resolution of problem.About one-third of them are reported to have back pain.
Among the signatories are the actor and director José Wallenstein (the first), several physiatrists, the Portuguese Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology, the Portuguese Society of Pathology of the Vertebral Column, the Portuguese Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the National Confederation of Associations of Parents.
The authors urge the resolution of the problem and propose, inter alia, that legislation be made to define that the weight of school backpacks should not exceed 10% of children’s body weight, as suggested by European and American associations.
The petition argues that schools should weigh children’s backpacks weekly in order to assess “whether parents are aware of this problem and do their part to minimize the burden children carry.”
“To do this, each classroom should contemplate a digital scale, something that is already common in many schools, and should be surveyed annually,” added the signatories.
Speaking to Lusa agency, the first signatory of the petition launched three days ago explained that they will wait until about 20,000 signatures to give more dimension to the initiative.”We intend to collect as many subscriptions as possible, and we are still at this stage, we expect to collect 20,000 to be able to not only discuss but create effective legislation,” said José Wallenstein.
The promoter of the initiative also argues that the mobilization and pressure of civil society in this area is important.