|Title||Firefighter’s perceptions of factors that influence healthy behaviors : a case study in
Kipp, Kristin H.
Cluskey, Mary M. (advisor)
|Date Issued||2008-07-01 (iso8601)|
|Note||Graduation date: 2009|
|Abstract||Although firefighting is associated with a high level of physical health, heart attacks are the leading cause of deaths among firefighters. Research has identified factors
that influence health behaviors in the general public, but little is known about this unique subset of the population. Since so little is known, this study was performed to provide further insights into this population and help to understand the barriers and supportive factors to practicing healthy behaviors among this at-risk population. This was an exploratory study that sought to identify the perceived factors that influence firefighter’s health behaviors and utilized qualitative techniques in order to answer the research
question. Specifically, data from six focus group sessions that were conducted on
firefighters in Corvallis, Oregon was utilized. Three distinct but interrelated themes emerged from the data: The environmental influences on firefighter’s healthy behaviors, the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes firefighters have about healthy behaviors, and the perceived social influences that affect firefighter’s healthy behaviors. The results of this study suggest that many of the obstacles to eating healthy and exercising regularly that exist for the general population also exist for firefighters, but seem to be worsened by the
interactions between environmental and peer influences and the attitude and belief
systems within the firefighting community. While some individual firefighters managed to
maintain healthy lifestyles, this study suggests that those firefighters were very motivated or determined to be healthy. Determining how to address their health behavior influences and identifying the supportive and obstructive elements among the firefighting community are needed in order to find ways to positively impact their lifestyle. Nutrition and health educators need to develop programs that focus on creating team support for
motivating healthy lifestyles and targeted intervention programs to help reduce the risk
for chronic diseases among firefighters.