Wildland Firefighting: Adverse Influence on Indices of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Health

Robert H. Coker, Carl J. Murphy, Michelle Johannsen, Grant Galvin, Brent C. Ruby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective:The purpose of this study was to evaluate pre-and postseason measures of body composition, skeletal muscle, and blood parameters/liver lipid in wildland firefighters (WLFF) over the fire season.Methods:Alaskan WLFF (N = 27) crews were evaluated pre-and postwildfire season, which included 63 ± 10 operational days. Body composition, thigh muscle area, and liver lipid were quantified using dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry and magnetic resonance imaging, respectively. Blood metabolic and lipid panels were also collected and analyzed.Results:Total body, fat, and visceral fat mass increased from pre-to postseason (P < 0.05). Total cholesterol, LDL, and total globulin also increased (P < 0.05). There was a trend (P = 0.06) towards an increase in intrahepatic lipid.Conclusions:The observed maladaptive changes in adipose tissue, blood lipids, and hepatic function may reflect adaptations/consequences to occupational demands/conditions and warrant evaluation of appropriate countermeasures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E91-E94
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • body composition
  • cholesterol
  • intrahepatic lipid
  • metabolic
  • wildland firefighter


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