The Student Body: The Effect of Backpack Wear on Center of Mass Displacement in College Student During Walking and Static Standing
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Objective: To investigate center of mass (COM) displacement during static standing and walking as well as forward flexion of the trunk during walking in college students in loaded and unloaded conditions. Design and Setting: All data were collected in Jowers Biomechanics Laboratory, Texas State University-San Marcos. Subjects: Subjects included 20 college students (ages = 22.85 + 5.58 years, mass = 72.11 + 11.28 kg, height = 169.89 + 10.01 cm) with no reports of injuries to lower extremities in the last two years. Measurements: Participants stood on the Biodex Balance System static platform and performed postural stability tests. Subjects were then recorded walking for 5 meters, to measure movement of the hip. In both portions of the study, 3 trials were conducted in unloaded conditions, followed by 3 trials while carrying a backpack loaded to roughly 10% of subjects’ weight. Results: One tailed and two tailed T tests were performed. A significant difference was found in the angle of trunk flexion (t < .01). Average angle of inclination at the trunk in unloaded walking was 165.56 degrees + 6.75 and 158.29 degrees + 6.87 during loaded walking. No significant difference was found in vertical COM displacement during walking or static standing between loaded and unloaded trials. Conclusions: Based on these findings, this data indicates that trunk forward flexion while wearing a loaded backpack occurs in consistent correlation regardless of weight, height, weekly exercise frequency or velocity during ambulation in college students. It is also indicated, based on these results that a backpack loaded at 10% of an individuals’ body weight does not affect the COM location compared to unloaded trials during static standing, or vertical COM displacement during ambulation.