Body Composition and Fitness Characteristics of Firefighters Participating in a Health and Wellness Program: Relationships and Descriptive Data

Robert G. Lockie*, Joseph M. Dulla, Daniel Higuera, Kristina A. Ross, Robin M. Orr, J. Jay Dawes, Tomas J. Ruvalcaba

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This study investigated body composition and fitness test relationships from firefighters participating in a health and wellness program and categorized firefighters according to population norms relative to sex and age. Data from 270 firefighters (men = 258, women = 12) were analyzed, including body composition (body mass index [BMI], body fat percentage [BF%], waist circumference [WC], waist-to-hip ratio) and fitness (sit-and-reach, grip strength, leg press, crunches, push-ups, maximal aerobic capacity [V̇O2max]) tests. Mann–Whitney U-test analysis (p < 0.05) showed that male firefighters had a greater WC, WHR, grip strength and leg press. Female firefighters had a greater BF% and better sit-and-reach. Partial correlations controlling for sex indicated 22/24 correlations between body composition and fitness were significant (r = −0.143–−0.640). ~52% of firefighters were overweight, and 25% were Obesity Class I-III. ~76% had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) considering BMI and WC. ~22% were fatter than average-to-overfat considering BF%. Most firefighters (73–94%) were good-to-excellent in sit-and-reach, grip strength, and push-ups; average-to-well above average in crunches; average-to-above average in leg press; and had good-to-superior V̇O2max. Although most firefighters had better fitness compared to the general population, many had increased CVD risk. The data highlighted the need for comprehensive approaches to improving firefighter health and decreasing CVD risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15758
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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