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Saudi Med J. 2013 Dec;34(12):1255-61.

Impact of backpack load on ventilatory function among 9-12 year old Saudi girls.

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Physical Therapy Department, Prince Sultan Military Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tel. +966 (11) 4777714 Ext. 57968. E-mail:



To explore the backpack load as a percentile of body weight (BW) and its impact on ventilatory function including tidal volume (Vt), vital capacity (VC), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), FEV1/FVC, peak expiratory flow (PEF), and maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) among 9-12 year old Saudi girls.


This is a prospective, experimental study of 91 Saudi girls aged between 9-12 years from primary schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The study took place in King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between April 2012 and May 2012. Ventilatory function was measured under 2 conditions: a free standing position without carrying a backpack, and while carrying a backpack.


The backpack load observed was 13.8% of the BW, which is greater than the recommended limit (10% BW). All values of ventilatory function were significantly reduced after carrying the backpack (p<0.001) with the exception of FEV1/FVC (p>0.178). The reduction was observed even with the lowest backpack load (7.4% BW).


A significant reduction was reported for most of the ventilatory function parameters while carrying the backpack. This reduction was apparent even with the least backpack load (7.4% BW) carried by the participants. This study recommends that the upper safe limit of backpack load carried by Saudi girls aged 9-12 years should be less than 7.4% of BW.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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