Cardiopulmonary MedicineORIGINAL ARTICLE

Self-Reported Cardiac Risks and Interest in Risk Modification Among Volunteer Firefighters: A Survey-Based Study

Patrick Scanlon, PA-C, DO, and Elizabeth Ablah, PhD, MPH
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: January 31, 2008

Accepted: May 19, 2008

Published: December 1, 2008

J Osteopath Med; 108(12): 694-698

Context: Coronary heart disease causes approximately 45% of firefighter deaths annually. Although firefighters have clinically significant cardiac risks, a paucity of research and data exists.

Objectives: To evaluate firefighters’ cardiac risk factors as well as their motivation to resolve these risk factors.

Methods: During a 3-month period, volunteer firefighters representing the 79 fire departments serving Nassau and Suffolk counties in Long Island, NY, were asked to complete a nonvalidated, 19-item questionnaire regarding their health habits, medical history, and demographics.

Results: A total of 730 surveys were returned among a potential study population of 20,590 volunteer firefighters. More than three-quarters of respondents met the criteria for being overweight or obese, and nearly 40% reported having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or both. Most respondents expressed at least some interest in attending a fire department–sponsored health lecture and participating in a fitness program.

Conclusions: Firefighters expressed desire to learn more about risk factor modifications and have fire departments take a more active role in helping firefighters improve their health. The effectiveness of resources and intervention programs should be assessed.

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