Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; firefighters are at a greater risk for both the disease and death. Their exposure to stress, toxic fumes and smoke, unhealthy eating habits, excessive weight, and low levels of physical activity are all contributing risk factors to this disease. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the effectiveness of a multi-faceted program of exercise and nutritional counseling to decrease body fat composition and increase fitness levels nine months after initial implementation among a sample of 202 firefighters. Social learning theory was the theoretical foundation for the study, as the firefighting population utilizes strong social networks which aid in the ability to observe, model, and imitate new learned healthier behaviors. Statistical analysis showed no significant difference between pre- and post-body composition. There were significant differences seen between pretest- and posttest fitness scores. The implication for positive social change lies in the fact that these study findings indicate that voluntary exercise and nutrition programs may not be adequate to address the issue of obesity among the firefighter population. Results can be used to inform better nutrition and exercise interventions for firefighters, thus helping them attain their goal of becoming a healthier workforce.