Objective: Evaluate the association between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in firefighters.
Methods: Cross-sectional study of 968 male career firefighters. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured by maximal exercise tolerance tests. Cardiovascular disease risk parameters included body composition, resting vital signs, and metabolic profiles. Group comparisons were performed using χ2 test, analysis of variance, and general linear regression with/without adjustment for age and body mass index (BMI).
Results: Higher metabolic equivalents categories were significantly associated with lower diastolic blood pressure, body fat, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total/high-density cholesterol ratio, and higher high-density lipoprotein (P ≤ 0.0272, age and BMI adjusted).
Conclusions: Increasing CRF has beneficial independent effects on CVD risk factor profiles among firefighters. Higher CRF was beneficial regardless of BMI; nevertheless, increasing BMI had strong independent unfavorable effects. Firefighters should be encouraged to increase their CRF to decrease their future risk of CVD.