Nutrition Intervention Through a Social Media Platform on Nutrition Knowledge and CVD Risk Factors Amongst Firefighters Original Research

Main Article Content

Katie Emerson
Douglas Kalman
Michael Downing

Keywords

Nutrition, Cardiovascular Disease, First responders

Abstract

Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of on-duty death for firefighters. Risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, and elevated cholesterol can be used as predictors in the prevention and intervention of CVD. Social media (SM) has become a popular platform for delivering health and wellness information. The aims of this study were to examine the utility of nutrition education through a dedicated social media platform (Instagram) for supporting and enhancing nutrition knowledge and in reducing CVD risk factors amongst firefighters.


Methods:  In a pilot study, firefighters (n=53) were exposed to a private IG account for 6 weeks. The intervention was delivering daily evidence-based nutrition information via the SM platform. A validated Questionnaire (ANSKQ) was administered before and after the 6-week intervention period. Nutrition knowledge, anthropometric and vitals data were collected pre-post intervention.


Results: Data analysis is presented as the mean, ± SD, p<0.05 was deemed significant. ANSKQ results were evaluated by total, general and sports nutrition knowledge scores. The total mean score significantly increased from 46% ± 3.27 to 52% ± 13.43 (p<0.0017). A 5% increase in GNK scores was also observed over the study period [60% ± 15.35 to 65% ± 19.83 (p<0.04409)]. SNK scores increased by 6% over the study period [39% ± 16.01 to 45% ± 14.25 (p<0.0108)]. Participants lost an average of 1.54 kg ± 2.29 (p<0.00007) over the study period.


Conclusions: This study suggests that nutrition education that impacts change in habits and health can be delivered over a dedicated interactive social media platform. This can have an impact on nutrition knowledge and health behaviors, as well as health outcomes in fire-fighters.  

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