Objective: To assess the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and frequency of risk screening in volunteer firefighters.
Methods: Self-reported data were obtained from 230 volunteer firefighters.
Results: Most participants were either overweight (35%) or obese (41%) and did not know either their blood lipid (86%) or blood pressure (47%) values. Only 35% reported having had a blood lipid assessment in the past year, whereas 39% had never done so; 93% had had their blood pressure assessed in the past year and only 2% had never done so. Thirty percent reported currently using tobacco.
Conclusions: The prevalence of overweight, obesity, and tobacco use among these volunteer firefighters was higher than that found in the general population. Many firefighters were either not aware of their risk factors for CVD or had been inadequately screened for this risk. However, the firefighters who had had recent blood pressure and lipid assessments did not have markedly elevated values. Thus, CVD risk in volunteer firefighters may be reduced through an increased awareness of risk factors via timely risk factor assessment.