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Title: Firefighters' Physical Activity: Relation to Fitness and Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Authors: Durand, Gerardo 
Tsismenakis, Antonios J. 
Jahnke, Sara A. 
Baur, Dorothee M. 
Kales, Stefanos N. 
Christophi, Costas A. 
Major Field of Science: Medical and Health Sciences
Keywords: Exercise;Mets;Occupational;Epidemiology;Metabolic
Issue Date: Sep-2011
Source: Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 2011, vol. 43, no. 9, pp. 1752-1759
Volume: 43
Issue: 9
Start page: 1752
End page: 1759
Journal: Medicine and science in sports and exercise 
Abstract: DURAND, G., A. J. TSISMENAKIS, S. A. JAHNKE, D. M. BAUR, C. A. CHRISTOPHI, and S. N. KALES. Firefighters' Physical Activity: Relation to Fitness and Cardiovascular Disease Risk. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 43, No. 9, pp. 1752-1759, 2011. Purpose: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 44% of on-duty deaths among US firefighters with a markedly higher event risk during strenuous duties compared with nonemergencies. Sedentary persons are most susceptible to such CVD event-triggering due to irregular bouts of vigorous physical activity (PA). Conversely, regular PA and increased levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) protect against CVD triggering. Therefore, the present study evaluates PA measures in structural firefighters and their relationship to CRF and CVD risk factors. Methods: Cross-sectional cohort study of 527 Midwestern career firefighters. PA frequency, duration, and intensity measures from a questionnaire along with total weekly aerobic exercise were analyzed. CRF was measured by maximal exercise tolerance testing. CVD risk parameters included body composition, blood pressure, and metabolic profiles. Group differences were compared using general linear models. Results: Measures of increasing frequency, duration, intensity of PA, and total weekly exercise (min) were significantly associated with higher CRF (P < 0.001) after adjustment for age, body mass index (BMI), and smoking status. After multivariate adjustment, increasing PA frequency was significantly associated with reduced total cholesterol-HDL ratio, triglycerides, and glucose, as well as HDL increments. Increasing BMI category was associated with significant decrements in CRF and unfavorable dose-response trends in CVD risk factors (P < 0.001), even for those reporting very frequent, sustained, and intense PA. Conclusions: Increasing PA has beneficial independent effects on CRF, and PA frequency has similar favorable effects on CVD risk profiles. Whereas PA was beneficial regardless of BMI category, increasing BMI category had strong independent unfavorable effects. PA should be strongly encouraged for all firefighters with the highest priority given to PA frequency, followed by PA duration and intensity.
Description: This investigation was supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant program's awards EMW-2006-FP-01493 (S.N. Kales) and EMW-2009-FP-00835 (S.N. Kales).
ISSN: 1530-0315
DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318215cf25
Rights: © The American College of Sports Medicine
Type: Article
Affiliation : Boston University 
National Development and Research Institutes 
Cyprus University of Technology 
Harvard School of Public Health 
Cambridge Health Alliance 
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