Healthy Concepts

“Our deep respect for the land and its harvest is the legacy of generations of farmers who put food on our tables,preserved our landscape and inspired us with a powerful work ethic.” —James H. Douglas, Jr.

Summer is in its final stretch now, and many people are out enjoying the great warm weather and taking advantage of sunny days to relax, enjoy outdoor family gatherings travel all over Wisconsin to see the beauty of our great state. Farmers, on the other hand, are busy during this prime harvest season gathering the bounty of their fields and planning ahead for the following year’s crops.

Nature’s Pathways wants to say thank you to the farmers who work year-round to provide not only for their families but for us, the community.

We depend on local farms to provide us with the freshest, nutrient-packed foods that are far superior to the produce that is picked before it is truly ripe because it has to take a 1,000-mile train or truck ride to get here. Sometimes it sits for another week before it gets to the grocery store shelves waiting for us to buy it. With that being said, who hasn’t noticed the difference between a juicy, sweet apple picked off a tree as opposed to the apple you buy at the supermarket from Washington or New York? The taste and nutritional value don’t compare.

We also must thank our readers for participating in local CSA and farm share programs and for finding them at farmers markets in the area. If you haven’t yet participated in a CSA, now is the time to be looking ahead to 2018! If you found yourself at your weekly farmers market buying the majority of your vegetables and fruits, maybe it is time to look into the option of having weekly deliveries of the best seasonal produce, even stepping outside of your comfort zone and preparing new vegetables that are foreign to you.

I personally never ate kale until a couple years ago. Why? Because my mother never bought it or prepared it. When I worked at Wendy’s in high school, kale was the big green leaves I had to pack over the ice on the salad bar for looks. I never thought of it as a food. Now I can’t be without it. Whether it is oven roasted with a little olive oil and garlic, or dehydrated coated with a cashew, lemon and nutritional yeast paste — which makes it crunchy just like a chip — or even sautéed with my morning eggs. I can thank local farmers for introducing me to one of my now favorite vegetables!

It is not too late (or too early) to have a conversation with local farmers about the programs they have available next year. They accommodate all family sizes so don’t be afraid if you are a family of three or a family of eight. If you gained anything from our Nature’s Pathways “We support Community Supported Agriculture!” series we hope it is that farmers are devoted to their way of life and sharing it with everyone they can to make a difference, even though it means they do all the work.

Thank you!

—Karen Grams

Check out these local CSA farm share programs!


Where to find:

Types of shares:

Featured items:

About the farm:

Burr Oak Gardens, LLC

W5511 County Road B, Rio


CSA pick up sites located near Appleton North High School and at Goodwill North Central Wisconsin in Menasha on Thursdays, June 15 through October 26 (20-week season).

Mini share, Basic share, Double share, Double Every-other-week and Late Fall Storage share.

Fruits, vegetables, herbs. Honey available as an add-on in the fall.

We are certified organic through Midwest Organic Services Assocation (MOSA). We have been delivering to the Fox Cities since 2010. Our farm uses sustainable practices to produce wonderful vegetables and a few annual fruits that are suitable for growing in Wisconsin. We are always astonished by what mother nature does with a little rain, a little soil and a lot of light.

Field Notes Farm

1579 Church Street, Stevens Point


Downtown Appleton Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.;

Future Neenah Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon;

Downtown Stevens Point Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-1 p.m.;

Pulse Young Professional's Bazaar After Dark.

Every week and every other week pick up, mid-June through mid-November.

Summer season is 18 weeks + 4 weeks of fall storage season. Each share is 3/4 bushel with 9, 11, 18 or 22-week pickups.

Work shares and Farm Artist shares available.

A variety of 8-15 household favorite vegetables each week, including weekly herb and

occasional fruits and apple cider.

We are certified organic and take pride in farming with a focus on soil health, building community and transparency. Each share features a newsletter with a story from the farmers, a list of the share's contents and simple recipes. We also have an orchard of peach, plum, pear and apricots. In the fall, we press apple cider to be fermented. We have a 5-month payment plan for our shares. Pick up sites in Appleton, Neenah, Amherst, Stevens Point and Plover.

Good Earth Farm

W8965 Oak Center Road, Oakfield


Fond du Lac Downtown Saturday Market from 8 a.m.-noon.

Summer season CSA: Weekly Large, Medium, Small and Every-other-week shares from June through October.

Winter season CSA: November through February.

Mushroom shares and fruit add-ons available. Weekly newsletter, The ComPost, with news from the farm, great vegetable info, recipes and more!

We are a certified organic vegetable farm offering vegetable shares to the Fox Valley and surrounding areas. Our CSA is a fantastic opportunity to eat with the seasons and purchase locally from farmers who use sustainable and environmentally responsible farming methods. We offer many opportunities to see where your food grows, meet the farmers and have fun on the farm!

Oakridge Farms

125 County Road CB, Neenah


Appleton Downtown Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Standard share, Half share and Market share.

Fruits and vegetables.

We are a family farm growing fruits and vegetables using sustainable farming methods. We focus on building soil health and using minimal chemical inputs on our fruit crops. We offer summer CSA shares, pick-your-own strawberries, raspberries and blackberries and offer a daily farm stand open mid-June through September.

Park Ridge Organics

N8410 Abler Road, Fond du Lac


Appleton Downtown Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (our stand is on College Ave. in front of McKinney Photography).

Our on-farm store is open Monday to Saturday from June through October.

Full, Half and Quarter shares offered every week for 20 weeks (June through October). Late season shares (November and December), Winter Storage shares (January and February).

Vegetables, mushrooms, eggs (available for farm pickup only), pasta and herbs.

Park Ridge Organics has been certified organic since our beginning in 2003. It is a second-owned farm providing produce to over 300 members each season. Our farm grows high quality produce and takes strong measures to ensure food safety. With over 14 years of growing experience and soil management, our produce flavor is exceptional!

Natural Healthy Concepts is the major fulfillment of one person’s small dream.

In 2004, Theresa Groskopp opened a nutrition counseling and consulting practice in her home in the Appleton area. She acted on her strongly held belief that “your health is the best investment you’ll ever make.”

Previously, Theresa worked in the medical and social service fields after receiving a BA in Business from UW-Oshkosh, a valuable foundation for what happened next. With her ever-increasing interest in health, she juggled work and studied nutrition. She completed the Certified Nutritionist Program with the American Health Science University and is a licensed certified nutritionist.

Client interest set in motion the retailing of professional nutritional supplements in her home along with the creation of a website and online store for Natural Healthy Concepts. She also gave nutritional lectures locally with area groups and offered employee wellness information to local businesses.

Natural Healthy Concepts grew steadily largely due to Theresa’s steadfast passion — she firmly believes that the foundation of health and wellness lies in proper nutrition. Today, the business offers over 17,000 products on its website, many of which are available from its two retail outlets in Appleton and Fond du Lac. (The new Fond du Lac store location opened in July and has grand opening festivities scheduled for August 17-19.)

There’s a difference between typical vitamins and the products you’ll find at Natural Healthy Concepts. That difference is quality. The supplements it offers are scientifically researched and clinically studied, and contain the purest ingredients. Theresa seeks out reputable brands that follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and utilize socially responsible practices in the manufacture of their offerings (e.g., non-GMO, sustainably produced, cruelty free, etc.). Theresa also goes to great lengths to avoid products with artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors.

At Natural Healthy Concepts, the staff is well-aware that your busy life makes it nearly impossible to maintain healthy habits. But, the truth is, you do have a choice! Your health and well-being is in your hands. While there is no replacement for eating right and exercising, supplementation can be an excellent way to fill nutrient gaps in your diet so you can do your part to support your good health.

When you need answers to your health and nutrition questions, Natural Healthy Concepts is there to help. Its knowledgeable staff includes a certified nutritionist, registered nurse, licensed massage therapist and well-trained store associates. (It also has space available for area practitioners to see clients on a scheduled basis.)

You can shop with confidence at Natural Healthy Concepts for not only a wide variety of quality pharmaceutical-grade, professional and retail brands of nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals, herbs and homeopathic remedies, but also a huge assortment of aromatherapy, natural skin and beauty care, sports nutrition and pet health products.

For more information, check out the online store and nutrition blog at The friendly staff looks forward to seeing you at one of its stores soon! 

Natural Healthy Concepts

Visit us at one of our two convenient locations:

310 N. Westhill Boulevard in Appleton (across the street from Woodman’s)

976 E. Johnson Street in Fond du Lac (across the street from Culver’s)

M-F: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. | Sat: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m-4 p.m.

Come visit us at our new store in Fond du Lac!


Few people would pass on the opportunity to save money. Clipping coupons, redeeming discount codes and shopping sales are par for the course for the average consumer. What some may not realize is that shopping on particular days of the week or during certain times of the year can yield even greater discounts.

According to Charlie Graham, chief executive of ShopItToMe, a website that provides email alerts to consumers when their favorite items go on sale, significant price differences can be seen on a day-to-day basis, depending on the items.

As for when to shop for just about anything, the following is a guideline for getting good deals. Weekdays tend to be better than weekends for bargain hunters.

Airfare: According to the fare tracking site, most airlines post domestic fare sales on Monday evening, which creates a price-matching scenario on Tuesday. Data suggests that, to get cheap seats, travelers should shop around 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Appliances: Big-ticket items like appliances require research and time prior to making a purchase. As a result, people tend to make these purchases over the weekend. To remain competitive, stores often discount large appliances on Sundays.

Cars: Dealerships have less leverage when customer crowds are minimal, which tends to be the case earlier in the week. The automotive resource Edmunds says that dealerships are more open to negotiating on Mondays.

Electronics: Mondays are also a great day to find deals on consumer electronics. Retailers and manufacturers often release rebate deals early in the week, enticing consumers to buy.

Jewelry and shoes: Studies have found that women tend to shop more in the middle of the week. Therefore, retailers that cater to females, including clothing stores, jewelers and handbag retailers, often discount items on Wednesdays.

Restaurant meals: Dining out reaches its peak time from Thursday through the weekend. To generate sales during slow periods, many restaurants offer specials on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For example, “kids eat free” specials are often offered on Tuesdays. Look for other discounts, such as happy hour deals or specials geared toward “ladies night out.”

Supermarket food: New circulars are distributed weekly, and items tend to be advertised on Sunday, making this the best day to get sales. However, since prices tend to carry throughout the week, Monday also can be a good day to save and the crowds are often smaller on Mondays than Sundays.

Saving money involves knowing when to get the lowest prices on popular items. And some days of the week are simply better than others for bargain hunters. 

Over the thousands of years it’s been cultivated, flaxseed has had a variety of health and industrial uses. Around 500 B.C., Hippocrates wrote about flaxseed being a laxative, and pioneers in North America made flaxseed dressings for cuts and burns. Fiber from the plant is made into linen, and oil from the seed is used in paints, among other products.

Today, flaxseed and flaxseed oil are used as dietary supplements for constipation, diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, and other conditions.

Flaxseed is made into tablets, extracts, powder, and flour. The oil is also put in capsules.

How much do we know?

There have been a number of studies in people of flaxseed and flaxseed oil, including their effect on hot flashes.

What have we learned?

Flaxseed contains fiber, which generally helps with constipation. However, there’s little research on the effectiveness of flaxseed for constipation.

Studies of flaxseed and flaxseed oil to lower cholesterol levels have had mixed results. A 2009 research review found that flaxseed lowered cholesterol only in people with relatively high initial cholesterol levels.

Flaxseed doesn’t decrease hot flashes, studies from 2010 and 2012 suggest.

NCCIH is funding preliminary research on the potential role of substances in flaxseed for ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, asthma, and inflammation.

What do we know about safety?

Don’t eat raw or unripe flaxseeds, which may contain potentially toxic compounds.

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil supplements seem to be well tolerated in limited amounts. Few side effects have been reported.

Avoid flaxseed and flaxseed oil during pregnancy as they may have mild hormonal effects. There’s little reliable information on whether it’s safe to use flaxseed when nursing.

Flaxseed, like any fiber supplement, should be taken with plenty of water, as it could worsen constipation or, in rare cases, cause an intestinal blockage. Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil can cause diarrhea.

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. 

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.


Servings: One

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup red and yellow cherry (or grape) tomatoes, some halved, some left whole

1 fresh salmon fillet

1 tablespoon fresh herbs (I use thyme and oregano)

1 teaspoon capers

Juice from half a lemon

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Melt the butter and 1 teaspoon oil in a cast iron skillet. Once the foaming starts to subside, add the tomatoes and cook for about a minute. Add the salmon fillet, season with salt and pepper and sear on one side for three minutes. Carefully flip with a fish spatula and sear another two to the three minutes. Add the herbs and toss the tomatoes around a bit. They’ll be getting some nice brown marks by now and breaking down a bit.
  2. In the meantime, heat the remaining teaspoon oil in another small skillet. Add the spinach and wilt for about two minutes. Toss in a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Serve salmon and tomatoes over the wilted spinach and garnish with the capers and a huge squeeze of lemon. Enjoy! 

In everyday life, it’s the little things that matter most: holding the door open for someone, paying a stranger a genuine compliment and in general simply showing respect. There are several ways to do so, but one of the best ways (and often the least thought of) is making sure your loved ones’ final wishes are realized in their end-of-life plans.

My grandmother is 91 years old, and I’ll say it: quite particular in what she likes and dislikes. Knowing this about her, the thought of preplanning her funeral is a perfect way for the two of us to choose components of this final celebration of her life that will make her proud and content in how things will come together as we remember her.

When I began the process of preplanning my grandmother’s funeral, I was leery and even a bit uncomfortable. I was initially quite naïve about the process and it seemed like an overwhelming task.

For this reason, I’m very thankful I visited Konrad-Behlman Funeral Home in Oshkosh. Their history in the area — they were established in 1875 and recently celebrated 140 years of being in business — is a testament to the compassionate and comprehensive service they provide families. I met with Jay Schultz, Owner/Funeral Director, and I immediately felt at ease. He was incredibly knowledgeable and understanding that many people aren’t familiar with planning funerals and the topic of death isn’t easy for everyone. Our meeting was the perfect balance of education and effectiveness. We started by talking about the benefits of preplanning and the difference it can make to your loved ones.

Jay explained that when one has preplanned their funeral, there is an element missing from the traditional “at-need” preparation, and that’s a good thing.

“When people lose someone, there are a lot of decisions to make and a lot of times that’s mixed with sleep deprivation, stress and grief,” he says. “When you pre-plan, there’s no confusion about what the deceased wants — there’s peace of mind.”

Konrad-Behlman provided an easy-to-fill-out form with my grandmother’s information and history: name, date of birth, family members, church and school affiliations, etc. What I liked most, though, is that there was also an area to talk about the activities that she enjoys the most. She loves literature, fashion, theater and poetry to name a few. (This information is also used to write the obituary.) This is the first part of the process that I felt was personalized, and it only got better as our meeting went on.

After speaking with Jay about my grandmother’s past and passions, we began talking about what kind of a celebration of life she would most want. They vary from traditional burials with visitations to cremation memorial services. Both can either be private or public at the funeral home or the church of your choice. My grandmother has always expressed that she would like to be cremated, so we focused on those options.

Konrad-Behlman provides pricing information and package options clearly in written form, which I found very helpful. There are a lot of decisions to be made, and having it be straightforward and easily referenced made it much easier for me. I was also struck by the comprehensive nature of their services. When Jay explained all that needed to be planned and outside resources (like the coroner, clergy, catering business, etc.) that need to be contacted, it sounded overwhelming. Knowing my grandmother’s wishes are written down and Konrad-Behlman is the sole point of contact offers peace of mind in itself.

After speaking in a beautiful inner office of the funeral home, Jay and I moved to the open and naturally lit area used to showcase the casket and urn options. This was made much less intimidating for me than I originally suspected because the options are presented by simply showing the endcuts and design elements of the caskets (it resembled a home remodeling showroom to me, and this helped my anxiety). The space made me feel at home and not at all daunted by making these decisions. I was very impressed by the amount of customization possible — from various color schemes and tailored designs to beautifully etched flowers, and hunting and fishing components — there truly is something for everyone. There was also an array of urns to choose from, varying in color and design.

One of my favorite parts of the process was in seeing all of the options available that would allow me to hold my grandmother close to my heart — literally! Keepsake jewelry using the cremains or fingerprint of your loved one provide such a special memento. Because my grandmother has always loved to accessorize, it feels even more appropriate to include that as a part of her memorial. I know a fingerprint necklace is in my future.

I received thorough and thoughtful instruction while I spoke with Jay, and he also sent me home with a variety of educational material ranging from handouts about social security benefits, grief guidance and even a checklist about what to do after your loved one has passed away. Konrad-Behlman prides itself on being a continued resource during this process, and I sensed that right away. Jay made preplanning my grandmother’s funeral easy and unintimidating. We even laughed and joked throughout our visit.

For me personally, knowing my grandmother will be pleased and smiling down on us as we remember her long life in a way that she helped choose gives me the peace of mind we all strive for when we celebrate our loved ones. I’m so grateful to have begun preplanning with Konrad-Behlman. 

Konrad-Behlman Funeral Homes

402 Waugoo Avenue, Oshkosh, WI 54901


100 Lake Pointe Drive, Oshkosh, WI 54904


You’ve probably heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” While that may not be entirely true, the foods you consume can have a positive effect on your hearing. Studies indicate foods rich in certain nutrients can help boost your hearing. In some cases, they may even help prevent or delay hearing loss. Each of the foods listed below can help improve your hearing and overall health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, typically found in fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, contain anti-inflammatory properties that help strengthen the blood vessels in the inner ear, helping protect against hearing loss. Research shows that individuals who eat two or more servings of fish a week are 42 percent less likely to develop presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) compared with those who do not eat fish regularly.

Antioxidants are another excellent source of protection from hearing loss, particularly folic acid. They help reduce the number of damage-causing free radicals in your body, and ultimately help prevent hearing loss. Good sources of folic acid include leafy greens such as spinach and romaine lettuce, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans and nuts. Persons over the age of 50 with a folate deficiency have a 35 percent higher risk of hearing loss.

Vitamin B12 works similarly; like folic acid, it creates new red blood cells and improves the flow of blood to the ears. Foods high in B12 include lean meats, dairy and eggs. Clams, liver and fish are especially high in this nutrient. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and is plentiful in citrus fruits and vegetables. Excellent choices include oranges, grapefruit and bell peppers. Vitamin E helps improve circulation and can be found in almonds, peanut butter and sunflower oil. Vitamin D keeps the bones and tissue in the inner ear healthy, preventing bone loss and otosclerosis — good sources are fish and milk.

Zinc is another nutrient that can help protect against age-related hearing loss. It can be found in dark chocolate and oysters, among other foods. Magnesium may prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Look for it in bananas, potatoes, artichokes and broccoli.

While there’s no guarantee that consuming these foods will keep you from developing hearing loss, including them as part of your diet will help improve your overall health regardless. However, like with all good things, too much can cause problems. Check with your primary care physician before making any major changes to your diet.

At Hearing Services of Wisconsin, you can talk to an expert audiologist to determine other ways to help preserve your hearing. 

For more information about improving your hearing health or the services we offer, visit our website at

Are you one of the nine out of 10 people who suffer from headaches? If so you are certainly not alone. Headaches are very common, so much so that many people think headaches are just a normal part of life. They are not a normal part of life. They are a sign that something is wrong. Ninety five percent of all headaches are primary headaches, such as tension headaches, migraine or cluster headaches. Headaches can have many triggers or causes. Some of the more common causes or triggers to name a few are stress, food preservatives and alcohol. Two of the most overlooked causes of headaches are the malfunction or misalignment of vertebra or spinal bones in the neck and upper back, and also muscle tension in this same area.

Most of us lead a sedentary lifestyle spending too much time working on computers or spending many hours of the day on our cell phones. This lifestyle increases the stress in the neck and upper back. When vertebra in the neck and upper back lose their normal position motion sensitive nerves, blood vessels can be affected. When these nerves and related tissues are irritated or stretched headaches can occur. Aspirin and other medication may cover up the pain but does not correct the underlying cause.

Many people get relief and correction of the underlying problem with chiropractic care. With a chiropractic examination you will be accessed for various symptoms, such as reduced range of motion, spinal restrictions, muscle trigger points and muscle spasms. If these symptoms are present a spinal adjustment not only would help with your overall health but could also be very beneficial to relieving headache pain.

If you experience occasional or frequent headaches you do not need to suffer, call our office and get started with chiropractic care to eliminate the cause of your headache. 

What makes some employers stand out? One thing that exceptional employers do is treat their employees well, especially when those individuals experience a medical crisis and can’t work the way they have in the past.

New North B2B Magazine and Community Benefit Tree, Inc. (CBT) initiated the Compassionate Employer Award in 2014 to recognize employers who go above and beyond to help employees facing an emergency. Sean Fitzgerald, editor of B2B, said, “We hope other employers in northeast Wisconsin will hear these personal stories and borrow from the examples that have been set. The loyalty these employees have for their employers is simply amazing.”

Employees who nominated winning businesses in the past feel loyalty is natural, considering all the employers have done for them. Melissa Gerrits nominated Matthews Tire, one of the winners last year, after they went out of their way to help when her daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury. Gerrits said, “When you work for a smaller, family-owned business, they’re more hands on. They know more about what’s going on with their employees. I consider these people part of my own family. I know the owners personally.”

Her nomination took Trevor Rezner, president of the company, by surprise. “It’s just what we do,” he said. “We take care of our employees as we would if they were our own family members, and help them the best way we can.”

Last year was the first year that the founders gave two Compassionate Employer awards. Matthews Tire won for companies with under 25 employees. Winning the award for companies of 25 or more employees was St. Paul Elder Services of Kaukauna.

Sondra Norder, President and CEO of St. Paul, said the company had been nominated the previous year by another employee. Still, she was surprised when Corinne Sieker nominated them. She didn’t even work for the organization anymore, having resigned when she felt she couldn’t be effective in her job while helping to care for her sister, a cancer patient.

The impression St. Paul Elder Services made on Sieker’s family was profound. Heidi Frederickson, Executive Director of CBT, a nonprofit established to offer financial, emotional and spiritual support to individuals and families facing a medical crisis, has noticed that having a compassionate employer makes the struggle less intimidating.

When she and Sean Fitzgerald established the award, they wanted to encourage employers to be part of the solution instead of the problem. She’s heard horror stories about people being let go when they most need a job — when they’re facing an expensive illness and struggling to keep working despite that illness. Employers who are prepared ahead of time to deal with medical crises are more likely to retain employees and keep them engaged, saving money in the long run, Frederickson believes.

Employees who have received exceptional support from an employer in Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca or Winnebago counties may nominate that employer for the Compassionate Employer Award by visiting The nomination form, due by Sept. 1, is available at the home page. Click on Apply and in the drop-down select Nominate Compassionate Employer.

The purpose of the Compassionate Employer Award goes beyond recognizing employers and best practices. It also is meant to encourage other employers to follow these practices when a valued employee suddenly comes face to face with a medical crisis. One way to encourage those compassionate behaviors is to nominate your own employer if they show you understanding and help in practical ways.

Winners in both categories will be announced at Community Benefit Tree’s annual LIFE Celebration November 14 at The Grand Meridian in Appleton. 

Finding the right backpack is an essential component of back-to-school shopping. Children may have their own ideas of what’s in style, but parents should look for backpacks that are functional before factoring in style. Marrying form and function together can be challenging, but it’s necessary to prevent students from developing back problems. But parents must give consideration to more than just the size of their children’s backpacks.

Depending on school schedules, students may be carrying backpacks for up to 10 hours per day, five days per week. Backpacks may be filled with several pounds of stuff, such as textbooks, binders, laptops, and other supplies, potentially leading to injury.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries every year. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says that the weight of a backpack should not exceed 10 to 15 percent of a child’s body weight. But many students pack their bags with much more weight than that.

Improperly sized, worn and overstuffed backpacks can injure joints and lead to neck, back and shoulder injuries. They also may affect children’s posture.

Choose a streamlined model. Select a backpack that will get the job done without much added bulk. Many backpacks have been designed to hold technological devices as more and more schools integrate technology into the classroom. A less bulky bag might be lighter and easy to carry.

Consider shopping at a sporting goods store. Employees at camping and sporting goods retailers understand how to fit backpacks for hikers and outdoor adventurers. They can help measure a student and find a pack that will fit his or her body frame. Also, these retailers may have a wider selection of backpacks than some other stores, increasing the chances of finding the right fit.

Select a pack with a waist strap. According to the American Chiropractic Association, the body is not designed to carry items hanging from shoulders. By using the waist strap in conjunction with taut shoulder straps, students can distribute the weight in their backpacks over their hip bones instead of the shoulders. The padded and adjustable shoulder straps should be at least two inches wide. All straps should be used each time the pack is worn.

Backpacks should be loaded properly. Heavy items should be near the center bottom to distribute the load, rather than placed on top. Students should only carry what is necessary, visiting lockers or desks as needed to lighten their packs.

Backpack fit and functionality is something parents should take seriously when shopping for school supplies. 

Source: MetroCreative Connection.

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