Firefighters are considered an “at-risk” population for metabolic diseases, yet 75% of fire departments nationwide have not adopted a health and wellness program according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (Storer et al. 2014).
Due to the nature of their work, firefighters encounter continual disruptions to their eating and sleeping patterns (circadian rhythm) which can compromise their metabolic fitness. Cardio-metabolic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, and cancer can result from disrupted circadian rhythms, directly impacting the fitness, safety, and well-being of fire fighters.
Traditionally, reducing circadian rhythm disruption was achieved through sleep modification and minimizing ambient light exposure. However, this methodology is not applicable to emergency responders. Based on laboratory and clinical studies it appears that keeping nutritional quality, quantity, and physical activity consistent while consuming calorific intake within a consistent 8-12 hour time period every day can sustain a healthy circadian rhythm and reduce the risk of cardio-metabolic disease among fire fighters.
This recent webinar summarized an on-going DHS-FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) study led by theSalk Institute, in collaboration with the Fire Protection Research Foundation, University of California-San Diego and San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, looking at the impact of time-restricted feeding on firefighters so that overall health and wellness could be promoted and the impact of shift work on firefighters could be minimized. This webinar, held on August 11, 2020, was presented by Dr. Satchin Panda and Dr. Emily Manoogian of Salk Institute.
The full webinar is available here.