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Part B - School Bag and Occupational Biomechanics

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  • Part B - School Bag and Occupational Biomechanics


    Hi Robert -

    Check the biomch-l archives. There was a similar question about this in the
    last two years. I also remember a presentation on this topic at a
    conference. I believe it was at ACSM in Indianapolis (1996). Good luck!


    Check out the following ref. Pascoe et al(1997) Ergonomics v.40, p631-641
    entitled - Influence of carrying book bags on gait cycle and posture of


    David Davis
    Researcher in Biomechanics and Load Carriage
    Department of Human Sciences
    Loughborough University
    LE11 3TU
    Tel: (UK) +1509 223086
    Fax: (UK) +1509 223941
    There have been a few studies in this area, but I don't recall the
    references. I have seen them in journals not listed in medline (such as
    Applied Ergonomics and International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics) and
    conference abstracts.

    Don Bloswick of the University of Utah had some students studying the
    biomechanics of bag carrying, but that may have been mailbags.

    Best of luck tracking this down.


    p.s.: You may also want to check the literature on shoulder nerve
    entrapment, because that is the disorder that I have heard may be related
    to excessive load in shoulder straps of book bags.

    The National Back Pain Association here in the UK are promoting a
    range of schoolbags because of this problem. They launched them last

    Their address is

    1 Geron Way,
    London, NW2 6LW

    Phone +44 181 450 4549
    fax +44 181 450 2321
    NBPA Schoolbag hotline +44 181 830 7559

    Excuse my possible lack of knowledge in the specific area of your question
    but didn't the Australian government do research into postal workers and
    the carrying of bags in the late 80's early 90's? my other point is that
    from reading through the lit it seems there are no problems if the kids
    carry a backpack with both straps over the shoulders, the army have done
    work like this in the US and the UK. It is a different scenario, where the
    loads are much higher but may give you a starting point, I remember some
    mail about backpacks on biomech-l about a month or two ago, follow the
    e-mail thread and may give you some links!

    __________________________________________________ _______________
    Ross Anderson Tel - +353 (0)61 202820
    P1007 Sports Building Fax - +353 (0)61 330431
    PESS Mobile - +353 (0)86 8388064
    University of Limerick ICQ - 8679473
    IRELAND e-Mail -

    Dear Robert:

    I think It might be useful having a look in:

    "An Investigation into the postural changes associated with load carriage
    using two different rucksack designs" by R.Lloyd; C.B Cooke. Abtract into
    Proceedings of the third annual congress of thye European college of Sports
    Science (1998), pp. 351 and 352 - Manchester, UK.

    I dont think you will be able to get the article very easily (Obviously,
    guessing). The only info I have is about the address of the authors is that
    they are based in the School of leisure and Sports Studies, Leeds
    University, Leeds, UK.

    I hope it is useful information for your purposes

    Sincerely yours

    Andre Rodacki

    Robert, i do not have information directly related to schoolbags
    but i do know that the Sports Science department at Liverpool John Moores
    University have carried out and published studies relating to the carrying
    and design of postbags, therefore they may be a good port of call. Hope
    this is of some help.

    Cheers, all the best

    David Philip Cook
    Brunel University, UK

    Dear Robert,

    A study in this area has been underway in the School of
    Physiotherapy, University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adealaide S.A.
    5000. Lecturer Lucy Chipchase ( would know the

    Best wishes,

    Trevor Hearn Ph.D.
    Professor and Chair, Orthopaedic Research

    Here are a few I recently found in a search for backpack research in
    general... I hope they help!

    DeVita, Hong, & Hamill (1991) J. Biomechanics 24(12) 1110-1129. Effects of
    asymmetric load carrying on the biomechanics of walking.

    **Pascoe, Pascoe, Wang, Shim, Kim. (1997) Ergonomics. 40(6) 631-641.
    Influence of carrying book bags on gait cycle and posture of youths.

    Megan Dailey
    Exercise and Movement Science, PhD student
    University of Oregon


    Dr. Newton -

    I am responding to your posting on BioMch-L in which you request information
    on research into, and possible orthopedic problems associated with backpack

    I don't recall the specific name of the study (still looking) that was done,
    however it was based on the prevalence of shoulder type injuries/complaints
    of women carrying shoulder bags/purses that were overloaded. The MD that
    assisted my mother with this type of problem referenced the study in her
    course of care, and prescribed shoulder rehab exercises to heal and
    strengthen the shoulder.

    I will forward any further info as I receive it - just thought I might
    provide some input.....

    Good Luck


    Eric O. DeMar, MA, ACSS

    This came up as an issue with adults on ergoweb over the last month. I
    could forward your mail to that list if you wish.

    I was contacted about 2 years ago by someone asking a similar question, also
    relating the issue to the Anthropometrics of children. I found some leads,
    but nothing very "hard." I didn't search in medline, but found a web
    resource through a social outreach organization.

    Because I am now a graduate student myself, I have access to other databases
    besides medline. Perhaps some allied health databases would be more

    Let me know if you want me to foreword your mail to ergoweb. If you wish
    you can go to the site and sign up yourself. Search ergoweb.

    Beverly Burke RN
    Movement Systems

    Certified Movement Analyst
    Certified Industrial Ergonomist


    Standard disclaimers apply.
    My friend, Wunpen Chansirinukor, has done a research about school backpacks
    for her Masters degree (in Physiotherapy) at Univeristy of South Australia
    (in Adelaide). There are also few other students (in both Masters and PhD
    programs) doing research in this area at the School of Physiotherapy,
    Univeristy of South Australia.

    Wunpen's e-mail address is I hope this
    would help.




    Dear Robert,

    My students did a study on the backpack type of bags, which are
    extremely overloaded in Hong Kong! They examined the effect of 20% body
    weight bags, using 2D kinematics and kinetics. Main finding was
    increased stance knee extensor moments and powers (both eccentric
    loading, K1, and concentric, K2, powers). I haven't sent this study off
    for publication, because my software is not yet written up, but you're
    welcome to the results.


    Dr. Chris Kirtley MD PhD
    Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
    The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
    Hong Kong
    Special Administrative Region of The People's Republic of China

    Contact Maree Williams, Physiotherapy Department, University of South
    Dan Barker
    Research Engineer
    Department of Orthopaedics
    Repatriation General Hospital
    Daw Park, 5041 SA
    Ph: +618 8275 1107
    Fax: +618 8374 0712

    Dear Dr. Newton,
    I am a first year graduate student in Department of Sports Science
    and Physical Edcuation at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. My thesis
    topic is also about carrying school bags by children. As a matter of fact,
    there is very little information about school bay carriage by children. I
    think this papers can help you. All of them are about carrying school bag.
    Pascoe, D. D., Pascoe, D. E., Wang, Y. T., Shim, D. M. and Kim, C.
    K. (1997). Influence of carrying book bags on gait cycle and posture of
    youths. Ergonomics, 40(6), 631-641

    Hong, Y., Li, J. X., Wong, A. S. K. and Robinson, P. D. (1998),
    Weight of school bags and the metabolic strain created in children. Journal
    of Human Movement studies, 35(4), 187-200
    (Dr Hong Youlain is my supervisor)

    Wong, A. S. K. and Hong, Y. (1997) Ergonomics analysis on carrying
    of school bags by primary school children. The Hong Kong Journal of Sport
    Medicine and Sport Science. (If you want to get a copy of this article, I
    can send you a copy by mail)

    I hope that these information can help you. Thank you.

    Cheung Chi Kin
    Department of Sports Science and Physical Education,
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong,
    Shatin, N.T.,
    Hong Kong,

    Hello Dr.Newton
    Medline as you know does not index all the rehabilitation literature, which
    may be why you can not find your information.
    Exerpta Medica may be another index you want to look at.
    If you still come up empty, you may want to build your case on adult
    Good Luck.
    Désirée Maltais

    I believe a question about backpacks came through the biomec-l a few months
    ago and some answers were posted (but I could be mistaken). Did you check
    the archives?

    ************************************************** ***********
    Gordon Chalmers, Ph.D.
    Dept. of Physical Education, Health and Recreation
    Western Washington University, MS-9067
    Bellingham WA


    Robert Newton PhD.
    Senior Lecturer
    Director of Postgraduate Studies and Research
    School of Exercise Science and Sport Management
    Southern Cross University
    PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, AUSTRALIA
    Telephone: Int + 61 66 203 234 Facsimile: Int + 61 66 203 880
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