Metabolic syndrome has been shown in numerous studies to be related to a higher incidence of coronary artery disease. A study by Jurca and coworkers (Med. Sci. Sports Exerc 36(8):1301-1307, 2004) found a relationship between cardiovascular fitness and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a group of men enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (ACLS). In addition, recent work in our lab (Int J Exerc Sci 2(1): S43, 2009) has supported these findings. However, research exploring this relationship is still lacking in male firefighters, whose leading cause of line-of-duty deaths is heart attacks. Purpose: To further evaluate the association of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular fitness in male fire fighters. Methods: As part of an annual physical exam, 224 male fire fighters (average age = 36) underwent evaluation of risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome as defined by NCEP III. These include the presence of three or more of the following: Waist Circumference > 40", HDL Cholesterol < 40 mg/dL, Triglycerides > 150 mg/dL, Blood Glucose > 110 mg/dL, and Resting Blood Pressure > 130/85 mm Hg. Cardiovascular Fitness was determined by estimating VO2max from time on treadmill during a Bruce protocol. Results: The subjects were ranked and divided into quartiles based on VO2max. All data were analyzed using a Chi Square test (p < 0.05). Prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased significantly across quartiles as cardiovascular fitness declined. Conclusion: These data suggest that as cardiovascular fitness improves, the likelihood of male firefighters having metabolic syndrome decreases.



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