This study, which involved 18 U.S. law enforcement agencies, tracked all reported line-of-duty officer injuries for 1 year, with a focus on the link between officer weight and fitness and the severity and recovery time for injuries.
The findings indicate that officer weight was significantly related to injury severity, days missed from work, and recovery time. On the other hand, officers who participated in fitness training were less likely to have an injury that was reportable to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration compared to those who did not participate in a fitness program. Those who reported a healthy body weight, as classified by body mass index (BMI), missed almost half as many days after an injury as those who were overweight. Few officers reported high levels of fitness activity, and only 53 percent reported that they participated in some type of fitness regimen. Information from each injury was collected and entered into a database and then analyzed. BMI was measured by calculating body fat based on an individual's height and weight. The study recommends that agencies take steps to increase fitness and nutrition programs as a practical solution to a costly problem within their organizations. Suggestions are to develop an internal fitness program and encourage participation; create an incentive program for employees who engage in healthy habits; require rigorous annual fitness evaluations; provide information and resources with fitness and nutrition guidance; and partner with local health and fitness centers to provide services and discounts.