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The association of aerobic fitness with injuries in the fire service.
Poplin GS; Roe DJ; Peate W; Harris RB; Burgess JL
Am J Epidemiol 2014 Jan; 179(2):149-155
The aim of the present study was to understand the risk of injury in relation to fitness in a retrospective occupational cohort of firefighters in Tucson, Arizona, from 2005 to 2009. Annual medical evaluations and injury surveillance data were linked to compare levels of aerobic fitness in injured employees with those in noninjured employees. The individual outcomes evaluated included all injuries, exercise-related injuries, and sprains and strains. Time-to-event analyses were conducted to determine the association between levels of fitness and injury likelihood. Fitness, defined by relative aerobic capacity (Vo2max), was associated with injury risk. Persons in the lowest fitness level category (Vo2max <43 mL/kg/minute) were 2.2 times more likely (95% confidence interval: 1.72, 2.88) to sustain injury than were those in the highest fitness level category (Vo2max >48 mL/kg/minute). Those with a Vo2max between 43 and 48 mL/kg/minute were 1.38 times (95% confidence interval: 1.06, 1.78) more likely to incur injury. Hazard ratios were found to be greater for sprains and strains. Our results suggest that improving relative aerobic capacity by 1 metabolic equivalent of task (approximately 3.5 mL/kg/minute) reduces the risk of any injury by 14%. These findings illustrate the importance of fitness in reducing the risk of injury in physically demanding occupations, such as the fire service, and support the need to provide dedicated resources for structured fitness programming and the promotion of injury prevention strategies to people in those fields.
Humans; Men; Women; Age-factors; Physical-fitness; Injuries; Epidemiology; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Surveillance-programs; Medical-examinations; Aerobic-metabolism; Risk-factors; Author Keywords: aerobic capacity; fire service; injury
Dr. Gerald S. Poplin, University of Virginia, Center for Applied Biomechanics, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace, Engineering School of Engineering and Applied Science, 4040 Lewis and Clark Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22911
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Epidemiology
University of Arizona, Tucson
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division