Maleah Holland-Winkler, Austin Kohler, Andrew Moore, Gabriella Benavides. Augusta University, Augusta, GA.

BACKGROUND: The occupational physiological stress encountered by first responders may be further exacerbated with inadequate regular physical activity. Tactical athletes have a greater risk for cardiovascular disease than the normal population and thus should meet physical activity recommendations to assist in reducing this risk. Therefore, the aims of this pilot study were to compare cardiovascular health parameters to the general population, classify disease risk, and determine if first responders are meeting physical activity recommendations. METHODS: 15 first responders (13 being firefighters) participated in this cross-sectional study. Body mass, waist and hip circumferences, resting heart rate, and blood pressure were measured. An activity monitor was worn for six days to assess physical activity. One-sample t-tests were used to compare results to the general population based on large sample data sets with statistical significance at p < 0.05. The mean values for waist circumference and BMI were used to classify disease risk according to ACSM. RESULTS: Hip circumference (108.9±12.1 vs 105.0±14.8 cm, respectively) and systolic blood pressure (128.4±13.4 vs 121.3±20 mmHg, respectively) were not different in the first responders compared to the general population. However, BMI (31.6±6.0 vs 26.6±8.2, respectively), waist circumference (104.3±17.5 vs 89.9±22.8 cm, respectively), and diastolic blood pressure (79.0±14.5 vs 67.8±16.3 mmHg, respectively) were higher in the first responders compared to the general population. According to ACSM’s classification of disease risk, the mean BMI of 31.6 and waist circumference of 104.3cm categorizes the first responders as “very high” in cardiovascular disease risk. Over a 6-day period, the first responders took 70,860±3905 steps which met ACSM’s recommendation of 60,000 steps over a 6-day period. CONCLUSION: Although the first responders met ACSM’s physical activity recommendation of 10,000 steps per day, they are still categorized as “very high” for cardiovascular disease risk according to ACSM. When compared to the general population, they have a higher BMI, waste circumference, and diastolic blood pressure. Data is still being collected in this population. Grant information: Augusta University Provost’s Student Research Program

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