Obesity in the Fire Service?

What's up CFE?!  It was another good, hard week of WODS, topped up with a few PR'S!  Just a reminder that class starts at 8:30 this Saturday.  Bring your A game, Conrad is coaching!

So, obesity in the fire service....

It's more prevalent than one might think and it's not just the volunteer departments either.  It's complicated because although Cardiac Arrest is the number killer on the fireground, there are many things to consider.  1st, in general, as guys coming on, you have to pass a physical test of some kind.  Sounds good, but they might take the test this year, get hired next three years from now.  In the mean time, it's up to them as to what they do to prepare for the academy.  If they're diligent about staying fit, the transition to the academy is an easy one.  If they're not on top of it though, for whatever reason, the transition is much more difficult.  Factor in age in history and you have a range of fitness and health levels that are across the board.

Once in the academy, history has old us that most people break down physically.  In Northern Colorado, specifically with the Front Range Fire Consortium, we've tried to address that over the last few years by requiring those in charge of physical fitness to be certified as Peer Fitness Trainers (PFT's).  The PFT's assist not only in the facilitation of training, but also in nutrition information and programming of workouts.  We try to be smart about programming, but the biggest factor might be nutrition.  In light of the fact that academies are extremely strenuous, we encourage people to eat ALOT (and fish oils of course).  They need the calories for the amount of energy they expend.    After the academy is over though, if eating contunes as it did,  the "Freshman 15" is a good possibility.  We do an end of academy nutrition talk, but eating at the firehouse can tricky, especially as a rookie.

Fast forward to 10, 20, 30 years into one's career.  The vast majority are healthy, fit firefighters that are ready to get some when the time comes.  They're reasonable about what and how much they eat, and they workout regularly.  Some though have maybe gotten away with being lazy with regard to their nutrition and/or the physical conditioning.  It hasn't bit them and so at times it's hard to convince them of making a change.  If they don't make the change, maybe it won't bite them, but then again, maybe it will.

Check this article out.  It's a fairly easy read and the last part talks about what Crossfit is and how applicable it is to the fire service.  If you know a firefighter, forward this link to them.  If they don't need it, maybe they know someone who does.

http://www.nvfc.org/files/documents/Obesity_Study.pdf

(Copy and paste into browser)