Changes in posture and perceived exertion in adolescents wearing backpacks with and without abdominal supports

Andrew B. Marsh, Lisa DiPonio, Karen Yamakawa, Seema Khurana, Andrew J. Haig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The goal was to examine whether backpacks with an abdominal support device improve posture and decrease exertion while walking among adolescents. DESIGN: Double-blinded trial, with 20 subjects, performed at a University Spine Center. On day 1, adolescents walked on a treadmill for 5 mins with photographic measurement of posture and responded to the Borg scale of perceived exertion before and after ambulation. On day 2, they repeated the trial four more times wearing a backpack randomly loaded with either 10% or 20% of body weight and with or without the Back Balancer abdominal support. Postural measures were recorded by a blinded observer. RESULTS: Postural changes (forward lean) wearing a backpack with abdominal support were significantly lower while carrying both 10% and 20% of body weight (P = 0.024 and P = 0.008, respectively) vs. no abdominal support. In addition, perceived exertion at 10% and 20% of body weight was significantly greater without abdominal support (P = 0.042 and P = 0.018, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Forward lean and perceived exertion while wearing backpacks in adolescents can be significantly decreased with abdominal support. This may increase comfort and decrease complications, such as back pain, that may arise from backpack use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-515
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Backpack
  • Ergonomics
  • Exertion
  • Posture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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