Majority of EMS Recruits are Overweight or Obese

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Majority of EMS Recruits are Overweight or Obese

A research study in Massachusetts reports that 75 percent of candidates for emergency medical and response service providers in Boston are either overweight or obese.

In a field where young recruits are expected to be at the pinnacle of their career fitness, recruiters are instead witnessing future fire fighters, ambulance personnel, and policemen who aren’t fit enough to physically perform the strenuous duties that the job entails.

This not only compromises their own safety and that of their co-workers, but also the public who they are supposed to serve and protect.

These findings are troublesome to researchers because this career field already sees a high level of cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal injury as causes of morbidity and mortality.

Among the 370 recruits studied, the results showed that today’s young recruits are significantly heavier than veteran firefighters a couple of decades ago, and that only 22% were of normal weight. An astonishing 44% of recent recruits were overweight and 33% were obese.

The research also showed that those with high BMIs were also associated with higher blood pressures, worse metabolic profiles and lower tolerances to stress tests performed on treadmills.

Given that these professionals are hired to perform highly psychologically and physically stressful work, they already tend to be at a higher risk for cardiovascular events, and these results reveal additional potential health risks due to their unhealthy weights.

There are also important economic implications to these findings as state and federal legislation exists that awards benefits to emergency responders who die or are disabled by cardiovascular events, malignancies and work-related orthopedic problems, being that they are public servants. Of course, all of these risks increase with obesity.

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One Response

  1. mm

    My husband was a 300++ lb Emergency Medical Technician in MA. I was always surprised that it was possible for him to DO the job. He did. He’s currently re-newing his license at 190 lbs, quite a bit different.