The study, published in the December 5, 2005 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, concludes that the average backpack load that children are now carrying should be reduced.
Excessive pressure on the shoulder from too much backpack weight may be causing shoulder pain, and an uneven backpack load may contribute to low back pain. The researchers hope their study will influence and improve future backpack design.
The research team, led by Principal Investigators Brandon Macias, B.A. of UCSD's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Gita Murthy, Ph.D. who was a fellow in UCSD's Department of Anesthesiology during the time of the research, studied five boys and five girls, aged 13 years old. Each child's backpack was fitted with pressure sensors on the shoulder straps. The pressure sensors are the same type as those that measure standard blood pressure. The children wore standard identical backpacks first carrying 10% of their body weight, then 20% and finally 30%. Macias says the group decided to study the backpack loads because there have been no studies connecting physiological pain and backpack loading.
Prior to loading each backpack the children's backpack shoulder straps were positioned with sensors to obtain contact pressure measurements over a 30-second recording period. The researchers noted that contact pressures measured significantly higher on the right side than the left side at all bodyweight levels and determined that it may have been due to posture, a factor they suggest warrants further study. The authors said that other studies have indicated that posture changed when shoulders wer
Contact: Jeffree Itrich
University of California - San Diego