Evaluation of overweight and obesity in Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) worker

Marcin Kopka 2,  
Department of Emergency Medical Services, Medical University, Warsaw, Poland
Military Institute of Aviation Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2015;22(3):542–545
[b][/b]Introduction. Obesity now affects people from all walks of life, including those who work in the field of medical aid provision on a daily basis. So far, there has been no research assessing the nutrition status of Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) crews. Objectives. To evaluate the degree to which overweight and obesity prevail among Helicopter Emergency Medical Service Air Ambulances (HEMS LPR) crew members, and determine the overall excess body fat and fatty tissue distribution in the subjects. Material and methods. In order to evaluate the prevalence of overweight and obesity in HEMS crew members, the following anthropometric measurements were used: height, body mass, waist and hip circumferences. Assessment of their nutritional status was made by using some generally used indicators, i.e. calculating the subjects’ BMI, WHR and WHtR. Results. Pilots were older than the paramedics in a statistically significant way. On the basis of using the BMI indicator, it was shown that only 36% of HEMS crew members had normal body weight. Analysis of the percentage of body fat determined that 61.5% of the paramedics and 39.4% of the pilots had normal weight. 26.2% paramedics and 28.8% pilots were diagnosed as overweight. Obesity characterised 12.3% of paramedics and 31.8% of pilots. The above were statistically significant differences (p= 0.0117). Waist circumference exceeded 102 cm in 25.9% of the subjects and WHR>1 characterised 20.6% of those examined. Conclusions. Analysis of the results obtained revealed that an alarmingly high percentage of crew members suffer from excessive body mass and fat, particularly in the group of pilots. Immediate action should be taken in order to reduce the body mass and introduce preventive measures among the subjects.