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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2019 September;59(9):1577-83

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.19.09137-0

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Prevalence of the risk factors for cardiometabolic disease among firefighters in the Western Cape province of South Africa

Ghaleelullah ACHMAT 1, Lloyd LEACH 1, Sunday O. ONAGBIYE 1, 2

1 Department of Sport, Recreation and Exercise Science, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa; 2 School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa



BACKGROUND: Cardiometabolic disease (CMD) risk factors have reached epidemic proportions, with many people at risk of premature disability and death. There is insufficient data regarding the prevalence of CMD risk factors among firefighters in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of CMD risk factors among South African firefighters in the Western Cape Province. Additional outcomes were to determine the relationship between BMI and CMD risk factors among firefighters.
METHODS: A total of 219 healthy male firefighters with mean age 37.8±9.80 years volunteered to participate in the study. Anthropometric (ISAK protocol compliant) and physiological variables (ACSM protocol compliant) were assessed. Descriptive statistics, such as mean, standard deviation and percentages were used to examine the CMD risk factors prevalence among the participants.
RESULTS: Based on the BMI categorization, majority (42.5%) of the participants were obese, 17.4% were overweight, 39.7% had a normal BMI, while 0.5% were underweight. The participants with systolic prehypertension were 45.7%, while 14.2% were hypertensive. Furthermore, 39.3% were prediabetic, 18.3% were diabetic, while 1.4% had blood sugar below normal level (hypoglycemic). In terms of total blood cholesterol levels, 45.7% were normal, 38.8% were borderline high, while 15.5% were high in hypercholesterolemia. The majority (51.1%) of the participants reported non-participation in regular physical activity. Between BMI and the typical risk factors, there is a significant correlation with abdominal obesity (r=0.71; P<0.001), systolic blood pressure (r=0.33; P<0.001), diastolic blood pressure (r=0.31; P<0.001), fasting blood glucose (r=0.22; P<0.01) and total cholesterol (r=0.15; P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: There was a high prevalence of cardiometabolic disease risk factors among firefighters. Furthermore, urgent intervention focusing on the lifestyle modification and weight management is a necessity.


KEY WORDS: Heart diseases; Metabolic diseases; Risk factors; Firefighters; South Africa

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