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Heavy subject: textbooks. (Education).

Schoolbooks have grown so heavy--often five pounds or more--that some states are telling publishers to lighten up and spare the child. In California, textbook weight limits will be set by next year; New Jersey and Massachusetts are considering similar measures.

Textbooks supersized under the education reform movement, as officials imposed thousands of new curriculum requirements. Publishers responded by enlarging pages and jamming in more photos and graphics. Some childrens' backpacks are now said to weigh more than 40 pounds.

Many schools, meanwhile, sought to eliminate hiding places for weapons and drugs by removing lockers, forcing students to carry their books all the time. "This was government trying to solve a problem and unintentionally causing another," says one California lawmaker. Though one study played down the health risk to those wearing heavy backpacks, orthopedists recommend that the bags weigh no more than 15 percent of the carrier's weight (15 pounds for a 100-pound person).
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Author:Zack, Ian
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 21, 2003
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