Should you be worried about your children’s posture if they are sitting on a desk all day? A lot of you will be wondering this now that the school year has begun.

Are the hours spent on schoolchairs, buses, or at home over a book bad for your children’s posture and health?

We met with Prof. Nicola Portinaro, Director of Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at the University of Milan and head of the Department of Pediatric orthopaedics at the Humanitas hospital, for the answers.

“Regarding the posture of their children, parents should worry a little less. There aren’t any biased postures kept at school that pose a risk to their health. Back disorders do not depend on these postures: If you have scoliosis, for example, it was not caused by the way you sat as a child. Their spine is flexible enough”. Commented Professor Nicola Portinaro.

“When attending elementary and high school – he adds – our children and teens don’t spend many hours over their books at home. Unlike those who spend many hours in a chair behind a desk as an emplpoyee or a college student: these are the people that should worry more about their posture. It’s a question of elasticity of the musculoskeletal system. In children there is sufficient elasticity and there will certainly not be an incorrect position to bend their backs”.

Is there a good posture to keep in class or at home while they do their homework?

“The correct posture for your back is to sit with your back straight, elbows resting in an ergonomic position and at a 90° angle. Their feet should be on the ground”, replied the professor.


Is it wrong to lie, or cross their legs, or rest their chin on their hand?

“The important thing is not to bend your back on the bench; the way the kids keep their legs under their table makes little to no difference,” says the specialist.

Any suggestions to parents?

“Certainly an hour of sports a day,” says professor Portinaro. “All sports are okay, the important thing is that physical activity is not aimed solely at easing but the movement: children must move every day, whether outdoors or in sports facilities. Its the only way for there to be harmonious development. Movement will ensure correct development of the musculoskeletal apparatus, respiratory and cardiovascular system”.

(For more information read: Dear parents, here’s a sketch of the perfect backpack)

When should parents really worry?

“When you notice any abnormality, “pathological” postural attitudes, then you have to intervene and consult a specialist. For example, if the child has its back inward visiting a specialist would be better than correcting their posture. Likewise if a child walks bent forward, or has one shoulder higher than the other, then the parents should see a specialist who will indicate the best treatment” concludes Professor Portinaro.