With the new school year just around the corner and parents busy purchasing equipment and furniture, the Health Ministry has issued guidelines for keeping pupils healthy.
Children should not carry more than 15 percent of their weight. If there are no lockers at school, they should take only those textbooks, notebooks and school supplies needed for the day and leave the rest at home. Schoolbags should have wide, upholstered straps with adjustable lengths. Spread the weight among all parts of the schoolbag, with the main weight opposite the center of the back rather than below or above it. Children should carry a small bottle of water and affix fluorescent strips to the backpack if it is used after dark.
Children doing homework at desks should get up and stretch every half hour. Chairs should be comfortable and adapted to the child's size, with armrests. When using a computer, children's eyes should be opposite the top edge of the screen, which should be between 55 and 75 centimeters from their eyes. The keyboard should be at a height that allows the child's lower arms to be at right angles to their upper arms. Lighting should not blind the user, and light should not be reflected by the computer screen.
Clalit Health Services, the largest health fund, has invited all six-year-olds who are Clalit members to undergo physical exams as they go into first grade. The free tests include weighing, height measurement, a physical examination, and a talk with a doctor to identify speech problems and advise about dental health, schoolbags, physical activity and proper nutrition. Each child will also receive a gift. In addition, children aged five to eight can get a free vision test at Optica Doron and Optica Halperin branches around the country. Information can be obtained by calling *2700 or at http://www.clalit.co.il.