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Article Title

WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS’ BODY COMPOSITION, MACRONUTRIENT AND MICRONUTRIENT INTAKE PRE AND POST WILDFIRE SEASON

Abstract

S. Brooks1, J. Bailey1, A.J. Roe1, C. Richardson1, B. Ruby2, A.F. Brown1

1University of Idaho, Moscow, ID; 2University of Montana, Missoula, MT

Wildland firefighters (WLFF) occupational demands are arduous requiring a combination of muscular strength and endurance activities for long durations in adverse environmental conditions. Previous data suggests WLFF body weight (BW) and fat mass (FM) significantly increase and lean soft tissue (LST) does not change as a result of a wildfire season. WLFF nutrient intake has been reported as 2700-4500 kcals/d during wildfire suppression, however micronutrient (micro) intake has yet to be described. PURPOSE: To examine body composition (BC), macronutrient (macro), and micro intake in WLFF pre and post wildfire season. METHODS: WLFF (N = 26) completed testing sessions pre and post season (June and October). Testing included anthropometrics, completion of a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan (Hologic Horizon™; Marlborough, MA), and a Diet History Questionnaire (DHQ-111; previous 30 days). Body composition index (BCI= (LSTpost-LSTpre)+(FMpre-FMpost)) was calculated to evaluate BC changes. Statistical analyses were completed using SPSS Statistics 24 and data were reported as mean±SD. Paired t-tests were used to assess differences in BC and nutrient intake by time. Significance was accepted at p<0.05. RESULTS: Participants consisted of male (M; n=21) and female (F; n=5) WLFF (26±6 yrs) who averaged 33±21 days engaged in wildfire suppression. BCI was positive for both M (0.2±1.9) and F (1.7±2.5). No significant differences in BW, LST, or FM were observed for M or F. However, significant decreases in energy intake (-314±181kcals/d), protein (-25±31g and -0.3±0.4g/kg), and fat (-15±19g) were observed post season for M. WLFF were below the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for fiber (M:24±15 g; F:23±21 g),Vitamin E (M:14.2±8.5 mg; F:9.3±5.2 mg), and Vitamin D (M:7.4±4.9 mcg; F:2.8±1.1 mcg), and above the RDA for Sodium (M:4348.8±1682.5 mg; F:2461.4±1073.6 mg). Additionally, F were below the RDA for Calcium (930.8±762.5 mg) and Iron (11.9±8.6 mg). CONCLUSION: WLFF demonstrated no significant changes in BC over a wildfire season. Macro and micro intake fell below the RDA to support overall health pre and post season. Therefore, nutrition education is necessary to support optimal fueling strategies to meet the demands of wildfire suppression, as well as maintain overall health.

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