Occupational loads carried by Australian soldiers on military operations
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Background: soldiers are required to carry heavy occupational loads on military operations that place their health at risk.
Methods: an online survey was sent to soldiers serving in specific Australian Army Corps known to experience high occupational exposure to load carriage.
Results: of the 380 respondents, 64% provided operational load carriage data on single or multiple operational deployments, totalling 411 reports. Mean absolute loads carried across the decade 2001-2010, equated to 47.7 kg. Arms corps carried significantly heavier loads than grouped "other corps" and Signals corps. Female soldiers reported carrying significantly (p =.45) lighter absolute loads (M = 26.4 kg) than male soldiers (M = 39.0 kg) with no significant differences found when the loads were expressed relative to body mass (Female M = 43%: Male M = 47%, p =.55).
Conclusion: Australian Army soldiers carry absolute loads that are increasing in load mass but may differ between corps and genders due to the tasks performed.