Wildland firefighting is arduous work with extreme physical and nutritional demands that often exceeds those of athletes competing in sports. The intensity and duration of job demands, impacts the amount of calories burned, which can influence body composition. The purpose of this study was to determine if the body composition of nine wildland firefighters working as smokejumpers changed throughout the 2017 fire season. Subjects (n = 9) for the study ranged in age from 24–49 (age 30.1 ± 8.3 y). Height (177 ± 18.8 cm) and weight (81.32 ± 6.39 kg) was recorded during initial body composition testing and body fat percentage was determined pre and post-season using Lange skinfold calipers. Outcomes were evaluated using a paired t-test. Body fat percentage was significantly different between pre and post-season (average body fat percentage increase = 1.31%; t = 2.31, p = 0.04, alpha = 0.05). Body weight increased slightly from pre to post-season (average increase in body weight: 0.17 kg), although the differences were not significant (t = 2.31, p = 0.78). Change in body fat percentage without change in body weight suggest that monitoring of WLFF body composition and fitness may be needed help inform dietary and fitness interventions to insure that nutritional demands of this population are sufficient to support physical work on the fireline.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited