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Trolleys Versus Backpacks: Science Finds Best Bag For Children

Update Date: Mar 07, 2017 07:00 AM EST

Trolleys versus backpacks: this showdown of two of the most popular types of bags schoolchildren use is like asking which ice cream flavor is the best. Fortunately, the end of debating whether trolleys or backpacks are the best has been ended by science that has determined which bag is the best for children.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Granada, goes beyond choosing between trolleys or backpacks based on form, style, or popularity. What the study focuses on is the selection of the best bag that will provide the most benefits on a child's gait and posture.

Details of the study are reported on the university's website, showing the involvement of 78 schoolchildren between the ages of 6 and 12. These children are students from public schools from Granada of which 43 are girls and 35 are boys.

For several weeks, all of the student-participants were asked to go the Biomechanics Laboratory in the iMUDS carrying their bags containing their usual load of books and school supplies. The children underwent body composition tests and had their body weight calculated in correlation with the weight of their trolley or backpack.

The data collected were then analyzed using a complex computer software and a 3D motion capture system was used to determine the changes in the child's posture and body adaptations in carrying different weights on their trolley or backpacks.

The alarming results of the study found that at least 23 percent of the girls who participated in the study are carrying an amount of load 20 percent more than their own body weight in their bags, far higher than what is recommended. And that almost 47 percent of the schoolchildren are carrying loads far heavier than what is recommended.

The researchers also found that around 97 percent of the students who use backpacks perceive that their bags are always heavy compared to just 85 percent of trolley users. Even though in actuality the trolleys are heavier than the backpacks.

Furthermore, 85.7 percent of backpack carrying schoolchildren reported often feeling tired from lugging around their bags compared to just 71 percent of trolley using schoolchildren. The study also found that most of the children who use backpacks reported back pain compared to trolley users.

Based on these results, the researchers have determined that the best bag for schoolchildren is the trolley. This is because it inflicts minimal changes on the child's posture and gait and reduces the incidence of experiencing back pain. However, this is only when the children are lugging around load weight within ten to fifteen percent of the own weight.

Beyond that, using a trolley affects the child's gait and posture but less bad compared to carrying around a backpack of the same weight.

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