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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31825296e0
Original Articles

The Impact of Surveillance on Weight Change and Predictors of Change in a Population-Based Firefighter Cohort

Poston, Walker S.C. PhD, MPH; Jitnarin, Nattinee PhD; Haddock, C. Keith PhD; Jahnke, Sara A. PhD; Tuley, Brianne C. BA

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Abstract

Objective: To document weight changes in a population-based cohort of male career firefighters and evaluate the impact of health surveillance on subsequent participant behavior and body composition.

Methods: Body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat percentage were assessed longitudinally in 311 male firefighters.

Results: Firefighters who reported making no changes after the baseline assessment (42.1%) experienced a 0.64 ± 3.1 kg average weight gain, whereas firefighters who reported making one or more health behavior change (ie, changing their diet, increasing their physical activity, or both; 52.1%) lost an average of −1.3 kg.

Conclusions: Regular health surveillance may motivate some firefighters to make health behavior changes. Although it is not currently the norm, fire departments should provide firefighters with annual health assessments including body composition and fitness measures, consistent with those recommended by the fire service's Wellness and Fitness Initiative.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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