Study Suggests Med Diet Benefits Cardiovascular Health of Firefighters – Health News Today

A recent study by sci­en­tists from Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty’s TH Chan School of Pub­lic Health found that adher­ence to the MEDI-Lifestyle sig­nif­i­cantly reduced the risk of hyper­ten­sion and improved aer­o­bic capac­ity in America’s young fire­fight­ers.

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The study, which was pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Occu­pa­tional and Envi­ron­men­tal Med­i­cine, sug­gested that intro­duc­ing healthy lifestyle habits, includ­ing the Mediter­ranean diet, in fire train­ing acad­e­mies could help boost the ben­e­fits of firefighter’s phys­i­cal train­ing and improve their car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

Our results sug­gest that fire acad­emy inter­ven­tions designed to increase healthy lifestyle habits over­all could add addi­tional ben­e­fits to the phys­i­cal fit­ness train­ing tra­di­tion­ally pro­vided in acad­emy set­tings.– Ste­fanos N Kales, co-author of the study

U.S. fire­fight­ers have been iden­ti­fied as being at high risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and sud­den car­diac death due to the stren­u­ous nature of their work cou­pled with con­ven­tional risk fac­tors, includ­ing obe­sity and high blood pres­sure.

The researchers believe that if this study was fol­lowed up with fur­ther research it could lead to the Mediter­ranean diet and other lifestyle changes being pro­moted as a ben­e­fi­cial new approach to bet­ter health in fire­fight­ing acad­e­mies.

The study focused on almost 100 new recruits from two dif­fer­ent fire­fight­ing train­ing cen­ters. The vol­un­teers, who were mostly males with an aver­age age of 25.6 years, were required to com­plete MEDI-Lifestyle ques­tion­naires in order to assess their lifestyles.

Par­tic­i­pants answered ques­tions about their weight, sleep pat­terns, adher­ence to a Mediter­ranean diet, smok­ing habits, phys­i­cal activ­ity and num­ber of hours spent watch­ing tele­vi­sion.

A point was awarded for each healthy char­ac­ter­is­tic and a score of between five and seven was con­sid­ered to be good. Par­tic­i­pants with the least healthy lifestyles achieved scores of between zero and two.

Higher scores were found to be linked to increased phys­i­cal fit­ness and less body fat. It was also dis­cov­ered that higher scor­ing recruits were less prone to hyper­ten­sion and for every extra point scored the risk of hyper­ten­sion fell by 36 per­cent.

A high MEDI-Lifestyle score also increased aer­o­bic capac­ity. Every extra point scored was noted to dou­ble aer­o­bic capac­ity. High lev­els of phys­i­cal activ­ity and plenty of sleep were also noted as con­tribut­ing fac­tors to bet­ter aer­o­bic capac­ity.

Our results sug­gest that fire acad­emy inter­ven­tions designed to increase healthy lifestyle habits over­all could add addi­tional ben­e­fits to the phys­i­cal fit­ness train­ing tra­di­tion­ally…