Introduction Health of emergency responders is often overlooked. We aim to study the physical and mental health of non-professional emergency responders in a healthcare institution.
Methods This cross-sectional study used data from medical examination required for employees attending the Emergency Responder Course. The physician-administered questionnaire consisted of: demographics, medical history and lifestyle practices (smoking, alcohol and exercise). Physical examination included weight, height and blood pressure. Indirect standardisation method was used to calculate the standardised prevalence ratio (SPR) to compare with the results from the National Health Survey 2010, adjusted for age, ethnicity and gender. Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) was dichotomized to assess for psychological distress. Prevalence risk ratio was used to explore the association between physical and mental health.
Results There were a total of 65 participants, with mean age of 49.4 years. Crude prevalence for diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, overweight and smoking were 18.5%, 23.1%, 27.7%, 67.7% and 26.7% respectively. 41.7% of the 12 diabetics had HbA1C >7.5% and blood pressure of 66.7% of hypertensive particpants were uncontrolled. Mean BMI was 26.9 kg/m2. SPR for dyslipidemia and overweight were 1.14 and 1.39 respectively. SPR for other chronic diseases ranged from 0.76–0.89). 11 (16.9%) had abnormal K-10 score. Hypertension was associated with abnormal K-10 score (Prevalence Risk Ratio 4.0, 95% CI 1.41–11.3).
Conclusion Despite possibility of healthy worker effect, there is a high prevalence of overweight and dyslipidemia among emergency responders compared to the national population. Interventions are needed to safeguard overall health of emergency responders.
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