Study results find that 70% of firefighters are obese or overwei - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Study results find that 70% of firefighters are obese or overweight

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The Center for Disease Control did a study and found that 7/10 firefighters are overweight or obese.

Firefighters are exceeding the national obesity average for adults. But some valley firefighters disagree with the study.

The study relied on the BMI or body mass index scale. Firefighters say BMI doesn't consider a person's muscle mass and body fat percentage. And that the more muscle you have, the more you weigh.

Firefighters save lives every day but are they risking their own lives by gaining too much weight? According to the CDC, 70% of firefighters are overweight.

"I would take that with a huge grain of salt," said Capt. Mark Vanacore with Phoenix Fire.

Capt. Vanacore said the Phoenix Fire Department is very fit, he believes the BMI scale is outdated.

"When I plug in my height, and weight I'm at a value of 34. Anything over 30 is obese. I don't consider myself obese but by the numbers I guess I'm obese," he said.

Vanacore said that Phoenix Firefighters are required to go through physical fitness tests every year. According to the BMI calculator Valerie Carpenter is fit but her doctor tells her she is overweight.

"He tells me every single year you're still about five or seven pounds overweight, I'm like awesome, ill get right on that, it's the same thing every year but I'm happy where I am because if I were to lose 5 or 7 pounds, then I would probably not be fit enough to do this job," said Carpenter.

These two Phoenix Firefighters are also considered overweight. According to BMI Joel Anderson, says he's considered obese. "I think the BMI is completely outdated," said Anderson.

Anderson is 6'4" and 250 pounds. "If I were "normal" based on BMI standards, the reality of me being able to pull someone out of a fire, or being able to move couches and a bed in a fire, to a search and rescue would probably decrease," he said.

If you'd like to know how you rank on the BMI scale you can enter your numbers here: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm
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