Neck, shoulder and low back pain in secondary schoolchildren in relation to schoolbag carriage: should the recommended weight limits be gender-specific?Appl Ergon 2014; 45(3):437-42AE
The occurrence of neck, shoulder and low back complaints in relation to schoolbag carriage and other potential risk factors were investigated in a cross-sectional study of 586 Iranian schoolchildren aged 12-14 years. The average load carried by schoolchildren was 2.8 kg. Neck, shoulder and low back complaints during the preceding month were reported by 35.3%, 26.1% and 33% of the students, respectively. Gender was an independent factor predicting musculoskeletal symptoms in schoolchildren. Girls were more likely than boys to suffer from neck, shoulder and low back complaints, although there was no significant difference between genders in terms of schoolbag carriage variables. The findings suggest that the recommended weight limit for schoolbag carriage may need to differ between boys and girls. The associations between schoolbag variables and reported symptoms are also discussed. The results provide evidence that the current weight limit should consider a broader combination of factors that influence the use of schoolbags.