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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003 Sep;90(1-2):35-43. Epub 2003 May 29.

The effect of load carriage on movement kinematics and respiratory parameters in children during walking.

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


The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of different backpack weights on trunk kinematics and respiratory parameters during walking in 10-year-old children. Fifteen boys with a mean age of 10.31 (0.26) years were selected from a primary school to participate in four walking trials on a treadmill: one with a backpack of 0% of body mass, and three whilst carrying backpacks that weighed 10%, 15%, and 20% of the child's body mass. The walking speed was set at 1.1 m s(-1) for 20 min duration. The walking movement was recorded on video and analysed in two dimensions. The breathing frequency, tidal volume, and respiratory muscles activity were measured with a cardiopulmonary system (Oxycon Champion, Jaeger) and a respiratory inductance plethysmograph (TR-601T, Nihon Kohden, Japan). A repeated ANOVA and Pearson correlation analysis were used to examine any significant differences in the measured parameters when comparing the different loads. The results showed a significant positive linear relationship between load weight, trunk inclination angle, and breathing frequency ( P<0.01). Walking for 20 min, carrying a load that weighed 20% of body mass induced a significantly increased trunk inclination angle. A significant increase in ventilation during walking with a backpack of 15% and 20% of bodymass was associated with a more rapid breathing frequency. Walking with a backpack of 10% body mass did not significantly change trunk posture or respiratory parameters. However, the results suggested that walking with a backpack of greater than 10% body mass induced significant changes in trunk posture and respiratory parameters in 10-year-old children.

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