Comparison of Groups at High Cardiovascular Disease Risk within UK Fire & Rescue Service Employees.

Philip James Frank Turner, Andrew Siddall, Rich Stevenson, Martyn Standage, James Bilzon

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PURPOSE: A high proportion of on-duty firefighter fatalities are thought to be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, lifestyle risk factors for CVD have not been investigated in the UK Fire & Rescue Service (FRS), but may indicate strategies for improving career longevity, health and mental well-being. METHODS: The UK FRS Health & Lifestyle Survey was developed using validated, reliable questionnaires and made accessible to all UK FRS employees (Operational and non-operational staff) over a 6 month period. Anthropometric data (and pre-diagnosed hypertension (>140/90 mmHg)) were self-reported with measures of alcohol use, smoking status and psychological well-being (depression, anxiety, stress and satisfaction with life (SWL)). High CVD risk groups were defined by overweight (25-30) and obese (>30) body mass index (BMI), regular smoking or presence of hypertension. Differences between groups in mean survey responses were identified using one-way ANOVA. RESULTS: Respondents comprised 2043 operational firefighters (mean±SD age 42±8 y, height 1.79±0.07 m, mass 86±13 kg) who reported significantly greater alcohol use scores (4.8±2.4 vs. 4.0±2.4; where >5 indicates at risk drinking behaviour), and lower SWL (18.3±7.3 vs. 17.5±7.4) than the 1096 non-operational staff (age 45±10 y, height 1.70±0.10 m, mass 76±17 kg) (p<0.05). Sixty four percent of the sample (n=2019) were in the moderate-high risk categories for BMI, 9% (n=293) were hypertensive, and 7% (n=227) were habitual smokers. In comparison to the normal BMI group, the high BMI group exhibited higher incidence of hypertension (21% vs. 4%), significantly higher waist circumference (0.97 ± 0.09 m vs. 0.79±0.07 m), alcohol use (4.7±2.7 vs. 4.2±2.3) and indicators of depression and stress (p<0.05). The hypertension group were significantly older (49±8 y vs. 43±9 y), had higher BMI (29±4 vs. 26±4) and scores for all adverse mood states (p<0.05). Non-smokers had greater SWL (16 ±8 vs. 18±7, p<0.05) and lower scores in alcohol use than smokers (5.5 vs. 4.3, p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Survey results suggest that the UK FRS contain a proportion of employees with modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and changing lifestyle may improve physical health, potentially leading to greater mental well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event61st Annual Meeting of American College of Sports Medicine - Florida, Orlando, USA United States
Duration: 27 May 2014 → …


Conference61st Annual Meeting of American College of Sports Medicine
Country/TerritoryUSA United States
Period27/05/14 → …


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