Methods: Data were collected from health education students during the spring semester of 2007 at the Colorado State University using an online survey. Adjusted odds ratios were calculated using logistic regression.
Results: Four hundred sixty-five (94.6%) health education students completed the online survey. The annual prevalence of low back pain was 29.2% (n = 136). A 25% increase in the odds of annual low back pain for each 4-kg increase in the estimated usual backpack weight was observed after adjusting for sex, smoking, reporting frequently feeling overwhelmed, and body mass index (adjusted odds ratio per 4-kg increase, 1.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.17-1.32). There was no evidence of an increased association of annual low back pain with carrying a backpack weight greater than 10% of the students body weight compared with those carrying less (adjusted odds ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.63-1.65).
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that increasing reported backpack weight is associated with increased prevalence of annual low back pain. However, these results do not provide evidence to support the recommendation that the backpack weight necessarily be less than 10% of body weight.
Objective: Back pain has consistently ranked among the top general health complaints among college students, but few studies have examined risk factors for back pain in this age group. This cross-sectional survey evaluated the association between the self-reported annual low back pain with the estimated usual backpack weight among college students.
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