View Full Version : Summary of replies - children & lifting

11-06-2000, 03:49 PM
Thanks to all who replied to my query posted on Australian Ergo List and
Biomech-L circa 12/13 October 2000 and which was, in brief, as follows :

Children, occasionally (and possibly often), carry objects which are, for
them, relatively large and/or heavy. However, there seems to be a dearth of
information on functional lifting capacities for children and on the
relationship between lifting and injuries in children. An additional
consideration, especially in the younger age groups, is their immature motor
control for bimanual load lifting. Does anyone know of any studies or
sources of information on :
1. lifting strengths/capacities for young children?
2. load lifting in children from a motor behaviour perspective?

I have not yet had a chance to follow up on all the info. forwarded to me to
see which is helpful. However, although the information from all respondents
was interesting and useful, it seems that (so far), I can say there is very
little in the way of data relevant to my two original queries (above).

There does, however, seem to be some information about the relationships
between back pain/injury and various influences such as exercise, esp.
weight lifting, and quite specific activities (such as school back pack

Some helpful colleagues undertook literature searches by entering keywords
such as "children", "strength", "lifting", etc. into databases such as
Medline or related websites and then sent me the extensive fruits of that
effort. I had also done this before requesting help. However, as they hadn't
read all those articles and I've not as yet had the time to obtain them for
review either, I can't say whether or not there may some answers lurking
therein. Although, from the titles and abstracts, most (although
interesting) do not look too promising in relation to my initial queries.
I've reproduced some of the more likely candidates in the summaries below.

>From Aaron Souza (alsst136@pitt.edu) :

Aaron found a number of references relating to children and exercise,
particularly weight training, on the (U.S.) National Strength & Conditioning
Association website.

Their site address is :

I've not reproduced all those articles because they can be easily retrieved
from that site by searching for "children" in the Article Index. Although of
interest, many of these did not appear, from their titles, to be directly
relevant to my original enquiry. Some that might be of interest are listed

Brown, L. (1998). Strength Testing for Children. Strength and Conditioning.
20(5):75. October

Herbert, D. (1993) Medical, Legal Considerations for Strength Training for
Children. National Strength & Conditioning Association Journal. 15 (6 ):77.

Pitton, P. (1992) The Effects of Resistance Training on Strength Gains in
Prepubescent Children. National Strength & Conditioning Association Journal.
14 (6 ):55-57.

Siegel, Judy (1988). Fitness in Prepubescent Children--Implications for
Exercise Training. National Strength & Conditioning Association Journal. 10
(3):43-48. June/July

The following reference and annotation was sent by Debby Givens Heiss
(heiss.8@osu.edu) :

Gordon AM, Forssberg H, Iwasaki N. (1994) Formation and lateralization of
internal representations underlying motor commands during precision grip.
Neuropsychologia, 32(5), 555-568.

The above article has data on 50 children (2-10 years) and some of their
references to work with children. The research is on precision grip lifting.
Her (Debby's) research on whole body lifting in adults has shown similar
patterns to Johansson's (Exp Brain Res, 1988; 71: 59-71) in the control of
the vertical lifting force when lifting large loads (bimanual) from the
floor level (measured by a force plate under the load).

>From Paul Rothmore (Paul.Rothmore@rgh.sa.gov.au) :

Paul Rothmore suggested contacting The Centre for Allied Health Research at
the University of South Australia (headed by Dr. Karen Grimmer). They have
done research into the carrying capacities of children with respect to
school backpacks and developed guidelines on the percentage of bodyweight
children should carry. Their recommendation is that ("until further
definitive limits are available for children of different ages and stages of
development"), load carrying requirements should not exceed 10% bodyweight.

Their site contains a lot of other information for those interested in such
issues, including aspects related to spinal development and head-neck
posture consequences of load carrying.

Their site is :

>From Simon Monnington (simon.monnington@hsl.gov.uk) :

Simon said that the Robens Institute, Surrey Uni are looking at children,
back pain and particularly the carrying of their school bags.

I've not followed up on that lead yet.

>From Andrew Pinder (Andrew.Pinder@hsl.gov.uk) :

Andrew sent quite a number of references to "adolescents" and "strength/low
back pain/lifting". However, "adolescence" generally refers, in the
developmental literature (depending on the precise definition adopted, which
can vary) to the ages commencing around 12 years (+/- a year or two) or so,
on to about late teens. I was more interested in the earlier "childhood"
years from around 3 or 4 to about 10 or 11 (i.e., from when children are
able to move freely about, including lifting and carrying things, but still
haven't developed fully mature motor control). He also found a number of
references relating to children. The ABBREVIATED abstracts of some of these
are :

Katzmarzyk,P.T., Malina,R.M. and Beunen,G.P. (1997).
The contribution of biological maturation to the strength and motor fitness
of children.
Annals of Human Biology, 24, (6), 493-505.
Abstract: The interrelationships among skeletal maturity, body size,
strength and motor fitness were examined in American children 7- 12 years
of chronological age (CA). A total of 391 Black (184 boys, 207 girls) and
349 White (193 boys, 156 girls) children participated in the study.
Biological maturity was assessed by the Tanner-Whitehouse II method, 20
bone skeletal ages (SA). Strength items included right and left grip
strength, and pushing and pulling strength of the shoulders. Motor fitness
items included a 35-yard dash, the standing long jump, and softball throw
for distance..........

Salminen,J.J., Erkintalo-Tertti,M.O. and Paajanen,H.E. (1993).
Magnetic resonance imaging findings of lumbar spine in the young:
correlation with leisure time physical activity, spinal mobility, and trunk
muscle strength in 15-year-old pupils with or without low-back pain.
Journal of Spinal Disorders, 6, (5), 386-391.
>From a population of 1,503 schoolchildren, 38 15-year-old children
reporting recurrent or continuous low-back pain and 38 asymptomatic
controls (34 boys and 42 girls) matched for age, sex, and school class were
selected for tests of spinal mobility and trunk muscle strength, and for a
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study of the lumbar spine. ....... no
clear evidence of the association between physical activity and early disc
degeneration could be found.

Wang,W.Y. and Chen,S.M. (1999).
Balance and muscular strength in normal children aged 9-12 years.
Kao Hsiung I Hsueh Ko Hsueh Tsa Chih, 15, (4), 226-233.
The purposes of this study ........ was to determine the effects of several
independent variables on balance, and also on two muscular strength
(dynamic and static) measurements respectively, … (and) ........ to examine
the relationship among the balance and the muscular strengths. Ninety- nine
healthy children (58 boys and 41 girls) ranging in age from 9.6 to 12.7
years participated in this study. ........ children were administered
subtest 2 of Bruininks Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOTMP). Dynamic
strength was measured with the subtest 4 of the BOTMP. Static strength was
measured quantitatively by "semi- squat two-hand lift". ........ The
results revealed weight and dynamic strength were the effective predictors
on estimating balance score. Gender and weight were found as important
variables contributing in static load, whereas gender, weight, height and
balance score were selected for significantly predicting dynamic strength

>From Pepe Marlow (pepe@netspace.net.au) :

Pepe said "The best place I know of to get information on children and
work-like activities of any kind is the ILO - especially those working in
the 3rd world. Kogi may be an author to look out for."

[I haven't followed up on this yet.]

>From : Stéphane Armand (stephane.armand@univ-valenciennes.fr) :

Stéphane is (interested in/works in) the biomechanical aspects of children
and bookbags. She forwarded the following reference list :

Grimmer, K. A., M. T. Williams, et al. (1999). "The associations between
adolescent head-on-neck posture, backpack weight, and anthropometric
features." Spine 24(21): 2262-7.

Hong, Y. and G. P. Brueggemann (2000). "Changes in gait patterns in
10-year-old boys with increasing loads when walking on a treadmill." Gait
Posture 11(3): 254-9.

Hong, Y., J. X. Li, et al. (2000). "Effects of load carriage on heart rate,
blood pressure and energy expenditure in children." Ergonomics 43(6): .

Hong, Y., A. S. Wong, et al. (1998). "Weight of schoolbags and the metabolic
strain created in children." Journal Of Human Movement Studies 00: 187-200.

Malhotra, M. S. and J. Sen Gupta (1965). "Carrying of school bags by
children." Oxygen Consumption and Muscular Exercise 8: 55-60.

Negrini, S., R. Carabalona, et al. (1999). "Backpack as a daily load for
schoolchildren [letter]." Lancet 354(9194): 1974.

Pascoe, D. D., D. E. Pascoe, et al. (1997). "Influence of carrying book bags
on gait cycle and posture of youths." Ergonomics 40(6): 631-41.

Many thanks again to all.

Max Hely
Safety Science Associates Pty Ltd
PO Box 708
NSW 2042

Phone 02-9572-6767
Fax 02-9572-6868
Mobile 0412-920-300
Email max.hely@safetyscience.com

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