Main Article Content
Nutrition, Cardiovascular Disease, First responders
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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