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Prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in paramedics

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Abstract

Purpose

Occupational stress and obesity are very prevalent in emergency workers. Some studies have also associated high tobacco consumption rates with occupational stress. Each of these factors is known to increase cardiovascular risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of occupational stress, overweight and tobacco consumption in paramedics.

Methods

This cross-sectional study of paramedics consisted in a self-report survey of 44 questions divided into two sections. The first section collected demographic information and the second evaluated occupational stressors. The questions were designed to determine the prevalence of work-related psychosocial factors, overweight (body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m2) and tobacco consumption (cig/day ≥ 1). The demand-control-social support model and the effort–reward model were used to estimate job strain, iso-strain and imbalance in effort and reward.

Results

More than 88 % of paramedics reported at least one cardiovascular risk factor, with males reporting more risk factors than females. Ninety percent of male paramedics reported occupational stress, 12 % reported smoking, and 79 % were overweight or obese by self-report. The prevalence of occupational stress and smoking was similar for female paramedics, but with a lower prevalence of overweight (37 %).

Conclusion

By self-report, nine out of ten paramedics are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Both individual and organizational efforts should be made to educate and support paramedics and their organizations in reducing these workers’ cardiovascular risk.

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Acknowledgments

We gratefully acknowledge the editing work and suggestions by Zofia Laubitz. This study was supported by a Grant from the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST). Dr. Poirier is a senior clinician-scientist with the Fonds de recherche du QuébecSanté (FRQS). Dr. Brassard is a Junior 1 Research Scholar with the FRQS.

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Hegg-Deloye, S., Brassard, P., Prairie, J. et al. Prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in paramedics. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 88, 973–980 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-015-1028-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-015-1028-z

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