Longitudinal Changes in Health and Fitness Measures Among State Patrol Officers by Sex

J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Aug 25. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000004327. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Dawes, JJ, Lopes dos Santos, M, Kornhauser, C, Holmes, RJ, Alvar, BA, Lockie, RG, and Orr, RM. Longitudinal changes in health and fitness measures among state patrol officers by sex. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2022-Research suggests that police officers lose fitness as a result of their policing vocation with occupational factors like stress, shift work, poor sleep, and poor diet all contributors to this loss The purpose of this research was to measure changes in fitness test scores of qualified police officers over a 5-year period. Archived fitness data for 523 state patrol officers (n = 494 men; 29 women) from one agency were used for this analysis. These tests included 60-second sit-up [SU] and push-up [PU] scores (muscular endurance), vertical jump height [VJ] (lower-body power), and 20-m multistage fitness test (aerobic capacity). A series of paired-samples t-tests and effect size calculations were used to investigate mean differences in fitness tests score at the beginning and end of a 5-year period. The paired-samples t test showed significant tests score decreases among male officers over the 5-year period in VJ, PU, and V̇o2max,, with no differences observed in SU performance. Small effect sizes were observed in both VJ (g = -0.20) and PU (g = -0.27) with a trivial effect size observed in changes to V̇o2max (g = -0.14). In contrast, significant improvements in performance were observed in SU performance among female officers, with a small effect size (g = 0.38). No other significant differences were found in female measures. Whether at an organizational or individual level, annual fitness assessments for police officers can serve to educate and motivate officers regarding their personal fitness and potentially slow the negative impact of aging on health, fitness, and performance in these populations.