Responding for life: Current health and fitness status of Australian paramedics

Jayden Hunter, Alexander MacQuarrie, Samantha Sheridan, Richard High, Carolyn Waite, Kirsty Smith, Janelle Thomas, Janelle Wheat

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Paramedics are among the most frequently injured health professionals in Australia. Awkward and heavy manual handling tasks are some of the primary causes of work-related paramedic injuries. There is scant data on the health and fitness profiles of Australian paramedics, and despite its importance, how to monitor and facilitate fitness levels to reduce injury risk.Methods: A group of regional and rural Australian paramedics (n=109; 59 male; mean±SD 37.0±10.2 years; BMI 28.3±5.4 kg/m2) underwent health and fitness screening. Measures included resting blood pressure (BP; Omron HEM-7322, Japan), body composition (body fat % measured by bioelectrical impedance; Inner Scan V, Tanita, Japan), upper and lower body and core muscular strength (maximum push-ups (modified for females), single-leg (SL) wall squat (total of left and right; sec) and prone plank hold; sec) and flexibility (sit and reach; cm). Outcomes were compared to ACSM normative data and between sex using multivariate ANOVA.Results: Compared to females, males had higher BP (p<0.01) (mean±SD): 136±11/85±8mmHg vs. 123±13/80±7mmHg (both pre-hypertensive); less relative body fat (p<0.001): 23.7±6.5% (poor) vs. 34.7±8.3% (very poor); greater upper body strength (p<0.05; push-ups): 22±12 (very good) vs. 16±12 (good); similar lower body strength (SL wall squat): 39.7±22.7sec vs. 35.2±30.3sec (both below average); similar core strength (prone plank hold): 90±43.5sec vs. 74.7±41sec (both below average); and less lower body flexibility (p<0.001; sit and reach): 20.8±9.7cm vs. 27.2±9.6cm (both fair).Conclusion: Both male and female regional and rural Australian paramedics may be at an increased risk of work-related musculoskeletal injuries due to a lack of core strength and lower body strength and flexibility. Furthermore, cardiometabolic disease risk may be elevated in this population as a consequence of high body fat and pre-hypertensive BP levels.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018
EventExercise and Sports Science Australia, Research to Practice - Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 27 Mar 201829 Mar 2018 (conference program)


ConferenceExercise and Sports Science Australia, Research to Practice
Internet address


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