Fuel 2 Fight

Banner image for Fuel 2 Fight

Project Overview

Fuel 2 Fight is the first national nutrition study of firefighters. This epidemiologic study assessed the lifestyle environment, including dietary intake, physical activity, and energy balance of firefighters.

  • Evaluated associations with obesity and cardiovascular disease risk factors and occupational injuries
  • Longitudinal cohort study with assessments twice over 6 months
  • 1,021 career firefighters, housed in 60 fire stations, within 20 fire departments across the US and its territories
  • 10 departments were incorporating some type of department wellness activity and 10 departments had no wellness activities

Project Details

Using a longitudinal cohort design, we examined obesity, dietary intake, physical activity, and energy balance in the lifestyle environment of 1,000 firefighters housed in 60 fire stations within 20 fire departments across the nation, stratified on adherence to guidelines in the IAFF-IAFC Wellness and Fitness Initiative (WFI).

Project Goals

  • Describe the nutritional status of career firefighters in departments who are, and are not, participating in a wellness fitness activity.
  • Determine risk factors/predictors of firefighter obesity.


  • Recruit departments, then stations, then on site recruit individuals & consent.
  • Travel for data collection; 3 fire stations from each department, in each city. 
  • Day 1: body composition, surveys, off-duty 24-hr dietary intake.
  • Day 2: On-duty 24-hr dietary intake (phone).
  • 2 exams - 6 months apart.


Funding Duration: 2 Years 2011-2013

Funding Source: FEMA, subcontract from National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI)

Funding Amount: $209,432

Project Team

R. Sue Day, PhD
Christopher Kaipust, MPH
Deirdre Douglass, MS, RD

Alcohol use and caloric intake from alcohol in a national cohort of US career firefighters

(Haddock CK, Day RS, Poston WS, Jahnke SA, Jitnarin N; Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs; 2015)

Accurate Identification of Neutralizing Antibodies to Adenovirus Ad36, -A Putative Contributor of Obesity in Humans

(Dubuisson O, Day RS, Dhurandhar NV; Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications, 2015)

Tobacco use pattern among a national firefighter cohort

(Jitnarin N, Poston WSC, Haddock C, Jahnke S, Day RS; Nicotine & Tobacco Research; 2015)

Health disparities among racial and ethnic minority firefighters

(Poston WSC, Haddock CK, Jahnke SA, Jitnarin N, Day RS, Daniels ID; Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice; 2014)

An examination of the benefits of health promotion programs for the National Fire Service

(Poston WSC, Haddock CK, Jahnke SA, Jitnarin, N, Day RS; BMC Public Health, 2013)

Study shows where firefighters get calories, it’s not pretty

Results from the first detailed evaluation of what firefighters across America eat and drink, the “Fuel 2 Fight” study, is an eye-opener.