Smoking and Physical Fitness Among Navy Shipboard Personnel
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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The purpose of this study was to examine smoking prevalence in a large group of Navy men and to asses the impact of smoking on their physical fitness. Self-reported demographic and smoking information was provided by 1,357 Navy men stationed aboard ships in the San diego area. Physical fitness was measured as performance on the Navys annual physical readiness test which includes a 1.5-mile runwalk, 2-minute sit-ups test, sit-reach flexibility test, and percent body fat assessment. Self-reported smoking status indicated that 49. 8 were current smokers, 20.3 were former smokers, and 29.9 had never smoked. Smokers were more likely to be non-Black enlisted personnel with lower education who had been in the Navy longer and tended to be older. Smoking also h ad a clear negative impact on physical fitness, most notably on cardiorespiratory endurance 1.5-mile run performance and muscular endurance sit-ups test. Study results suggest that the Navys anti-smoking efforts should focus heavily on prevention. Men who had never smoked were leaner, could do more sit-ups, and scored higher on the overall physical fitness rating than current smokers and former smokers. Strong efforts to get people to stop smoking should also improve cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance as former smokers performed better on the 1.5-mile run and sit-ups tests than current smokers. Future research should focus on why smoking rates in the Navy are so high. Identification of factors associated with smoking would provide useful information for developing interventions to lower smoking rates. Successful interventions are vitally needed to help the Navy reach its goals for maintaining a healthy and fit force.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Stress Physiology