Improving Body Composition May Reduce the Immune and Inflammatory Responses of Firefighters Working in the Heat

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We hypothesized that different body composition and fitness of firefighters would affect immune and inflammatory activity after working in the heat.


Forty-two firefighters worked in the heat (100 ± 5 °C). Changes in leukocytes, platelets, tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and C-reactive protein (CRP) were analyzed based on body composition (DXA) and aerobic fitness (VO2max).


Higher baseline leukocytes were observed for high body fat (P = 0.002) and low lean mass (P = 0.023) resulting in the highest peak values. Additionally, significantly lower values for TNF-α were observed with high lean mass at all time points. Platelets were unaffected by fitness or body composition. Furthermore, body mass index (BMI) and VO2max played no role.


Minimizing body fat and increasing lean mass may reduce immune and inflammatory activity of firefighters in the heat.

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