School‐based education programmes for improving knowledge of back health, ergonomics and postural behaviour of school children aged 4–18: A systematic review

Josette Bettany-Saltikov, Gok Kandasamy, Paul Van Schaik, Robert McSherry, Julie Hogg, Vicki Whittaker, Tracey Arnell, Garikoitz Aristegui Racero

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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The health of school aged children's backs is a very important topic worldwide. Many schools require children to sit for long periods of time and the increasing use of technology adds to the number of hours they are seated. As back pain is increasingly being reported in young people, an understanding of spinal health and posture is essential for students, teachers and parents. The causes of back pain in young people are challenging and wide ranging. These include; mechanical back shape and incorrect posture while using technology (Game Consoles, Computers, Gameboys, iPads and iPhones). Furthermore, carrying heavy back packs, improper lifting techniques, incorrect posture during prolonged sitting and standing, together with a lack of back care knowledge and the opportunity to move around frequently (in standing, sitting) can lead to poor back health. These issues may be made worse by the school environment, for example, the unavailability or inadequate numbers of school lockers, ill‐fitting school furniture and the changing routine of the school day which don’t allow children to move around as much as they would like to.
Back health educational programmes aim to decrease the possibility of spinal, back and other problems which may lead to
disability and pain in muscles and bones. The aims of these programmes are varied and diverse and have included numerical, physical, mechanical, positional, environmental and even social factors. Numerical as in trying to decrease the numbers of students with back pain. Mechanical as in improving body mechanics, posture and safety; as well as methods of wearing a backpack. Positional associated with teaching good sitting postures, safe lifting techniques, sports injury prevention proce- dures, as well as training students to make appropriate and safe decisions regarding the use of their bodies. These are essential in order to prevent the onset of back pain as well as improving students’, teachers and parents knowledge of back care principles.
Further research has shown that “hands‐on” learning or learning by doing is much more effective than just being spoken to in a classroom. As research in this area is still very unclear, a systematic review conducted with state of the art, high‐quality Campbell Collaboration methodology is urgently needed to update parents, children, teachers, researchers and clinicians with the latest research evidence to help educate/inform everyone involved in this issue and also to inform changes in policy and practice in this area of public health.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1014
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalCampbell Systematic Reviews
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2019


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