Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate pre- and postseason measures of body composition, skeletal muscle, and blood parameters/liver lipid in wildland firefighters (WLFF) over the fire season.
Methods: Alaskan WLFF (N = 27) crews were evaluated pre- and postwildfire season, which included 63 ± 10 operational days. Body composition, thigh muscle area, and liver lipid were quantified using dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry and magnetic resonance imaging, respectively. Blood metabolic and lipid panels were also collected and analyzed.
Results: Total body, fat, and visceral fat mass increased from pre- to postseason (P < 0.05). Total cholesterol, LDL, and total globulin also increased (P < 0.05). There was a trend (P = 0.06) towards an increase in intrahepatic lipid.
Conclusions: The observed maladaptive changes in adipose tissue, blood lipids, and hepatic function may reflect adaptations/consequences to occupational demands/conditions and warrant evaluation of appropriate countermeasures.