Cardiovascular disease and risk factors in law enforcement personnel: a comprehensive review

Cardiol Rev. 2012 Jul-Aug;20(4):159-66. doi: 10.1097/CRD.0b013e318248d631.


Law enforcement is a high-stress occupation that is prone to increasing the prevalence and incidence of cardiovascular disease. Epidemiological studies suggest that police officers and related public safety personnel have an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Currently employed police personnel have a high prevalence of traditional risk factors, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, metabolic syndrome, cigarette smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity may be more common in police officers compared with civilians, whereas diabetes is present less frequently. Law enforcement personnel are also exposed to occupation-specific risk factors that include sudden physical exertion, acute and chronic psychological stress, shift work, and noise. Workplace programs to promote the health and fitness of police officers are commonly lacking, but can be an effective means for reducing cardiovascular risk. Physicians should be familiar with the essential job tasks required for police officers to determine whether the individual is fit for duty. Governmental agencies have established strategic goals to reduce cardiovascular complications and improve the health and wellness of public safety personnel.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Law Enforcement*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Physician's Role
  • Police / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / physiology