Scanlon P, Ablah E. Self-Reported Cardiac Risks and Interest in Risk Modification Among Volunteer Firefighters: A Survey-Based Study. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2008;108(12):694–698. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2008.108.12.694.
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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.
Objective: 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.
Conclusion: 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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