Effects of backpack loading on the pulmonary capacities of normal schoolgirls and those with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Daniel H.K. Chow, Xavier H.Y. Ng, Andrew D. Holmes, Jack C.Y. Cheng, Fiona Y.D. Yao, Man Sang Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


STUDY DESIGN: A prospective evaluation of the effects of backpack carriage on the pulmonary function of schoolgirls without spinal deformity versus those with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). OBJECTIVE: To establish if recommended backpack load limits for normal schoolchildren are also appropriate for study participants with AIS. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The weight of schoolchildren's backpacks are of concern because of effects including compromise of pulmonary function. Impaired pulmonary function is also found with AIS, but the effect of backpack carriage on the respiratory parameters of schoolchildren with AIS has not previously been examined. METHODS: Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume (FEV1), peak expiratory flow (PEF), and forced expiratory flow (FEF25-75%) were recorded in 17 girls (mean age, 12 years) with moderate AIS (Cobb angle, 26 degrees-50 degrees) and 18 girls (mean age, 11 years) without musculoskeletal deformity during carriage of a backpack loaded at 0%, 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 12.5%, and 15% body weight in random order. Absolute values and proportions of reference values were analyzed by repeated-measures analysis of variance. RESULTS.: No interaction between load and group was found, indicating that backpack loading has a similar effect on the pulmonary function of both normal and AIS groups. However, all recorded pulmonary parameters were found to be significantly lower in the AIS than normal group, significantly so for the referenced FVC and PEF. A significant decrease in FVC and FEV1 was found with increasing backpack load, and the load at which these changes were found to be significant was lower than those established in previous studies. CONCLUSIONS: Pulmonary function may be more sensitive to backpack load than previously considered, especially when study participants with AIS are being considered, and the recommended loading limit of 10% body weight may not be applicable to schoolgirls with AIS.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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