Nearly two Belgian firefighters in three are overweight. On top of that, nearly one in five is obese, according to an annual investigation by the external Service for prevention and protection at work (IDEWE).
When looking at last year’s medical data on 3,702 firemen and 181 firewomen, IDEWE found that 64% of them have a BMI of between 25 and 30, meaning they are overweight. 19% of the people involved had a BMI of over 30, meaning one firefighter in five was obese.
“That’s a lot”, said the Labour sciences professor Lode Godderis (KU Leuven). “It is important that those who have to carry people down stairs during a fire are in good physical condition and a healthy weight”, the expert said.
He recommends that the extra weight is addressed by the fire departments, not just with technical exercises but also physical ones.