Obesity is a growing problem for the American general population as a whole but evolving research coming out about the American fire service paints an alarming picture with rates of overweight and obesity being higher among firefighters than the general population. Obesity puts people at risk for a host of diseases, increases risk for injury, and results in more lost days when obese firefighters are compared to their normal weight peers.

There has been some speculation that rates may be inflated due to firefighters who have a high BMI but low body fat and a lot of muscle. However, if you look at the research that compares the two, though, the rate of misclassification is below 2%. Research also is revealing that between 7% and 10% of firefighters have a BMI over 35, which puts them in the extremely high-risk “severe obesity” category.

Read the entire story in FIRE CHIEF, our sister publication.