Characterizing Objective and Self-Reported Levels of Physical Activity Among Florida Firefighters Across Weight Status Category: A Cross-Sectional Pilot Study

Hannah Kling, Katerina Santiago, Leonor Benitez, Natasha Schaefer Solle, Alberto J. Caban-Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Firefighters suffer from a disproportionally high burden of chronic diseases that could be prevented from regular bouts of physical activity (PA). The goal(s) of this pilot study were to (a) describe typical PA levels in professional paid firefighters, and (b) assess their ability to estimate their own levels of PA. Methods: A repeated measures study design was used to assess self-reported and objectively measured levels of PA from a non-probabilistic sample of firefighters (n = 18) over 1 week. Objective measures of PA, measured by accelerometry were defined as the number of minutes spent in sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous PA. Firefighters completed a follow-up questionnaire recording their self-reported levels of PA. Results: Obese (body mass index [BMI] > 30 kg/m2) firefighters spent 8,033 ± 2,543 minutes/week in sedentary activity, overweight (BMI = 25–29 kg/m2) firefighters 6,533 ± 1,587 minutes/week, and healthy weight (BMI = 18.5–24.9 kg/m2) firefighters 5,846 ± 1,160 minutes/week. The difference in self-reported weekly minutes spent in light, moderate, and vigorous activity and objectively measured minutes in activity was calculated. Healthy weight firefighters reported the least difference (1,924 minutes/week), followed by the overweight (3,884 minutes/week) and obese (5,749 minutes/week). Conclusion/Application to Practice: Firefighters poorly estimated their true level of PA compared with their objectively measured PA and obese firefighters reported the greatest inconsistency. Occupational health nurses should aim to support firefighters in achieving PA levels that assist firefighters to achieve a healthy weight and educate them about what it means to be engaged in each level of PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-518
Number of pages6
JournalWorkplace Health and Safety
Volume68
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Keywords

  • chronic disease
  • firefighter
  • occupational health
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)

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