Research/studies Worker health and wellness Fire/emergency medical services

Most firefighters not receiving weight advice from doctor: report

Houston – More than 70 percent of U.S. firefighters are overweight or obese, and many may not be receiving weight management advice from their health care provider, according to recent research from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Based on a 2011-2012 national sample of more than 1,000 male firefighters, including 924 who saw a health care professional in the previous year, most firefighters (69 percent) and 48 percent of Class I, II and III obese firefighters reported they received no advice about their weight from health care professionals. Only 12 percent of overweight firefighters were advised to lose weight.

Younger firefighters were less likely to receive weight loss advice than older firefighters – the mean age for no advice was 38.1 years compared with 41.9 years for any advice – except among Class II and III obese firefighters. Overall, 82 percent of the firefighters were overweight or obese.

Advice on losing weight could help prevent further weight gain and reduce obesity-related health issues, researchers said.

The study was published July 10 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal Preventing Chronic Disease.