The National Volunteer Fire Council is working with researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to determine the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for volunteer firefighters. The study is designed to help first responders and their families adopt good eating habits and improve their health by using key principles defined in the Mediterranean Diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Enjoying meals with family and friends
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
- Getting plenty of exercise
The health and wellness of firefighters is a very hot topic right now. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are well-known fire fighter occupational hazards. Participants in the NVFC study will have access to online tools and strategies for implementing healthier eating habits to minimize the risk of developing serious chronic diseases.
If you're interested in getting involved, complete an introductory questionnaire. Then once every three months, you will receive some follow up questions to see how you are progressing. The study is free, confidential, and you can stop participation at any time. Volunteer/call firefighters, EMTs, and rescue personnel ages 18 and older, as well as their spouses or significant others are eligible to participate. Sign-up here.