Study: Healthy Foods a Difficult Find for Firefighters

Findings from a recent Johns Hopkins study were released Tuesday.

Average weight loss ranged from 2.41 lbs to 15.73 lbs across the participating stations with the Goodwill Fire Company in Queen Anne's County winning the competition.

Of the 75 participants, 83 percent said their health improved during the competition.

While only 48 percent said that the food environment at their stations changed, 72 percent said it changed at their homes.

"The firefighters were taking what they learned during this study home with them and changing behavior there," Associate Professor Larry Cheskin said, noting that it can be very difficult to alter the culture inside the station and that the change has to start from the top.

"It's very important to engage the leadership to foster change within the fire department," he said. "You can't just tell people something and expect them to change. You need to change the environment."

Cheskin said that all departments can launch similar efforts at their own stations focusing on healthier eating.

"Educating them about nutrition and healthy eating is very important," he said. "It's not that they are purposely eating poorly, they just don't know what they should be eating in some cases."