* The average schoolchild carries more than 30 per cent of his body weight at least once a week in the form on a school backpack, according to Italian researchers (Lancet, 1999; 354: 1974). This exceeds reasonable weigh limits proposed for adults. These heavy loads put our children at risk from low back pain, and today reported rates of low back pain in children are approaching those seen in adults.
* Medical errors kill nearly 100,000 Americans a year, according to an expert panel from the US Institute of Medicine (BMJ, 1999; 319: 1519). Far from doing no harm, US doctors are dispensing the wrong drugs and performing unnecessary surgery, causing what the panel referred to as "stunningly high rates of medical error", resulting in both death and permanent disability.