Physician Weight Recommendations for Overweight and Obese Firefighters, United States, 2011–2012
Published Date:Jul 10 2014
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 11.
National guidelines state that health care professionals (HCPs) should advise patients on the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. Firefighters have high rates of obesity, and cardiovascular events are the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in firefighters. This study assessed the association of age and body mass index (BMI) with HCP weight recommendations among male firefighters.
We used data on self-reported HCP weight recommendations and measured BMI from a 2011–2012 national sample of male firefighters (N = 1,002). HCP recommendations were recorded as no advice, maintain, gain, or lose weight, and BMI was categorized as normal (<25.0 kg/m2), overweight (25.0–29.9 kg/m2), class I obese (30.0–34.9 kg/m2), and class II or III obese (≥35.0 kg/m2). We used multinomial logistic regression to estimate the odds of receiving weight advice by age and BMI categories.
Most firefighters (96%) reported visiting an HCP in the past year. Most (69%) firefighters and 48% of class I to III obese firefighters reported receiving no weight advice. Higher BMI predicted HCP advice to lose weight (odds ratio class I obese vs normal weight: 12.98; 95% confidence interval: 5.38–31.34). Younger firefighters were less likely to receive weight loss advice than older firefighters, except among those who were class II or III obese.
HCPs are important sources of health information for firefighters. Overweight and obese firefighters, particularly those who are younger, do not consistently receive HCP advice to lose weight. This marks a missed opportunity to prevent further weight gain and reduce obesity-related health outcomes.
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