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Fire Prevention & Safety Research and Development Grants - 2009 Grant Awards - 01971

This page contains information about Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Research and Development (R&D) Grant number EMW-2009-FP-01971. The content is useful for those in the fire service seeking information about to how to improve the safety and health of firefighters.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Data
Project Title:The Impact of Nutrition Environment in the Fire Service on Health and Safety
Organization:National Development and Research Institutes, Inc.
Principle Investigator:Sara Jahnke, PhD,
Grant Number:EMW-2009-FP-01971
Award Total:$998,235
Period of Performance:4/19/10 – 3/31/13
Grant Status:Completed



Firefighting requires a high level of physical fitness and health in order to respond to unpredictable emergencies at a moment's notice. However, previous research suggests that, as a group, firefighters have a relatively high incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), injury, and low physical fitness, and very high rates of overweight and obesity. Although a host of factors likely account for negative health outcomes in firefighters, preliminary data and reports from many within the fire service community point to the unhealthy food environment in fire houses as a primary cause of poor health outcomes. Unfortunately, there is a complete lack of epidemiological data on the nutrition environment in the fire service.


This study will fill this important public health gap. Using a longitudinal cohort design, the study will examine dietary intake and the food environment to determine health and performance risks.


One thousand participants will come from 60 fire stations within 20 fire departments across the nation. Departments will be stratified on adherence to guidelines in the IAFF-IAFC Wellness and Fitness Initiative (WFI). Study aims include developing: 1) a comprehensive epidemiological picture of the food environment in the fire service; and 2) statistical models of the relationship between diet, health, and performance outcomes among firefighters, and 3) examining the impact of the WFI on diet quality, weight changes, health risk, and readiness across time.

Projected Results and Conclusions

It is predicted that participants from WFI departments and those with the healthiest diets will experience significantly less weight gain and fewer negative health outcomes. Such evidence will support adoption and implementation of WFI and healthy diet plans within fire departments to benefit firefighter health, performance, and safety.

Last Updated: 
07/01/2015 - 10:25