Association between leisure time physical activity, cardiopulmonary fitness, cardiovascular risk factors, and cardiovascular workload at work in firefighters

Clare C.W. Yu (Corresponding Author), Chun T. Au, Frank Y.F. Lee, Raymond C.H. So, John P.S. Wong, Gary Y.K. Mak, Eric P. Chien, Alison M. McManus

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Overweight, obesity, and cardiovascular disease risk factors are prevalent among firefighters in some developed countries. It is unclear whether physical activity and cardiopulmonary fitness reduce cardiovascular disease risk and the cardiovascular workload at work in firefighters. The present study investigated the relationship between leisure-time physical activity, cardiopulmonary fitness, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and cardiovascular workload at work in firefighters in Hong Kong. Methods Male firefighters (n = 387) were randomly selected from serving firefighters in Hong Kong (n = 5,370) for the assessment of cardiovascular disease risk factors (obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, smoking, known cardiovascular diseases). One-third (Target Group) were randomly selected for the assessment of off-duty leisure-time physical activity using the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Maximal oxygen uptake was assessed, as well as cardiovascular workload using heart rate monitoring for each firefighter for four "normal" 24-hour working shifts and during real-situation simulated scenarios. Results Overall, 33.9% of the firefighters had at least two cardiovascular disease risk factors. In the Target Group, firefighters who had higher leisure-time physical activity had a lower resting heart rate and a lower average working heart rate, and spent a smaller proportion of time working at a moderate-intensity cardiovascular workload. Firefighters who had moderate aerobic fitness and high leisure-time physical activity had a lower peak working heart rate during the mountain rescue scenario compared with firefighters who had low leisure-time physical activities. Conclusion Leisure-time physical activity conferred significant benefits during job tasks of moderate cardiovascular workload in firefighters in Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalSafety and Health at Work
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ambulatory heart rate monitoring
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Maximal oxygen consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Chemical Health and Safety

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