Determinants of Health and Wellbeing Among Fire and Rescue Personnel

  • Philip Turner

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Physical inactivity and shift work are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. UK Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) employees are engaged in job roles that differ in their physical activity and shift working requirements: operational firefighters (FF), emergency control (EC), and administrative support (AS) workers. Emergency response involves unpredictable periods of intense physical and psychological arousal that are associated with increased risk of cardiac event. The aim of this body of research was to investigate the health characteristics, lifestyle behaviours and wellbeing of three FRS occupational groups and describe the CVD risk profile of a UK FF sample. The first study established significantly higher physical activity and lower sedentary behaviour and hypertension prevalence in FF compared to EC and AS. However, despite these lifestyle differences, sleep behaviours and self-rated health were found to be independent determinants of psychological wellbeing irrespective of FRS job role (Study 2). The FF respondents were classed into low, moderate and high CVD risk groups, such that FF classed as being at a low CVD risk reported the highest physical activity, perceived wellbeing (life satisfaction; depression, anxiety, and stress), and lowest daily sitting time (study 3). Further analysis in a smaller cohort of FF (study 4) found that systemic biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk were significantly higher among FF that were classed as moderate CVD risk, compared to low CVD risk. FRS health professionals may improve intervention outcomes by including self-rated health and sleep behaviours in annual health screening assessments, whilst also interpreting objective markers of cardiometabolic health status. In comparison to other FRS job roles, FF present on average as a healthier population. However, a significant group of FF are at an increased risk of CVD and would likely benefit from targeted lifestyle intervention.
Date of Award19 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMartyn Standage (Supervisor) & James Bilzon (Supervisor)

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