Improving the health of UK firefighters

London Met's Public Health Nutrition Research Group will use three new body composition analysers to support the work of the Firefighters Charity.

Date: 2 February 2022

London Met's Public Health Nutrition (PHN) Research Group has recently been awarded a grant to procure three high quality body composition analysers to help improve the health of UK firefighters.

Dr Dee Bhakta from the PHN research group is working in collaboration with Dr Greg Lessons from The Firefighters Charity, who is delivering an analyser to each of the Charity's three health rehabilitation centres around the UK.

Greg is a London Met MSc and PhD graduate of nutrition under the supervision of Dr Bhakta, and is now training the physiotherapists and exercise therapists at the centres to operate the analysers, to enable the assessment of firefighter body composition.

Greg's pioneering MSc and PhD research investigated the validity of BMI for classifying UK firefighters as healthy, overweight or obese. This identified an alarmingly high rate of false positive errors, inevitably leading to firefighters being given inappropriate health advice.

Under the supervision of the PHN research group's Professor David McCarthy, Greg developed a novel system to correctly classify firefighters into appropriate body fat and muscle mass classifications. This is all now being implemented in the real world, to help educate firefighters and to encourage their health Improvement.

Greg is also working with the chefs and practitioners at the Charity's centres to deliver evidence based nutrition interventions to encourage behaviour change to improve/maintain the health of firefighters going through various health rehab programs offered by the charity such as their COVID recovery program.

Valuable body composition data from the analysers will reveal the effectiveness of this, and other health interventions over time.


woman standing on a body composition analyser