Weighty Professions: Police and Priests Top Study Of Most Obese Professions

250px-Glazed-DonutNOPD_badgeThere is an interesting study out on obesity in America. The study of American Journal of Preventive Medicine appears to confirm one stereotype: police officers and donuts. Almost half of police (as well as firefighters and security guards) were found to be obese. The second most obese? Clergy (as well as social workers and counsellors) at 35.6 percent. If appears that, even you cannot avoid crime or sin, you may at least be able to out run the immediate consequences.

In third place were home health aides and massage therapists are third at 34.8 per cent.

The least obese? Economists, Scientists, and psychologists (14.2 percent). Also, at the bottom of the heavy weights are actors/artists (20.1 percent); and physicians/dentists/nurses (22 percent). Perhaps the most surprising? Cooks, bartenders, and food servers were on the low end at 23.1 percent.

While we have recently seen higher estimate due to errors in reporting, the study found that one out of three Americans are obese.

Source: Daily Mail

39 thoughts on “Weighty Professions: Police and Priests Top Study Of Most Obese Professions”

  1. Not all firefighters are of this genotype of course. 🙂 But unless genetically tested we wouldn’t really know who carries it or not in any given profession or group of people. Consistent high levels of Ghrelin are probably affected by the fat one carries on their bodies at any given time. Fat is basically another endocrine gland. A large percentage of our population carries the ‘fat’ gene and it has a significant influence in our obesity rates. I’ll go look for a link, I think it’s called the FPO gene, can’t recall for sure though. Be back in a minute. And yes indeed limiting carbs would benefit peole with this genotype.

  2. Paul Schulte,
    Glad your firefighters are in great shape! I wish all of them were as healthy as yours.

  3. Prairie,

    I have GCBC by Taubes right here on my shelf. I’m about sixty pages in, and it is tough! I read his ‘Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It’ and found it much easier to get through. WWGF reading is like a hot knife through butter. Same ideas, less thorough and more easily digested by us common folk.

    I also read ‘Real Food, What To Eat and Why’ by Nina Planck. Stay away from refined carbs and processed foods, find yourself a farmer. My switch to organic raw milk makes my coffee like a delicious warm ice cream. Same for the hot cocoa at night (there’s my sugar intake…).

    The book ‘Grain Brain’ by David Perlmutter makes the case against carbs in their entirety, and for natural fats and proteins. Gluten, he (and I) believes, is detrimental to most humans. The extreme cases we call celiac disease. Since I have cut gluten out of my diet, the once in awhile when I do eat it, the next day I pay the price… The experience for me is similar to drinking too much in college, and running both ends the next day… Not quite so bad, but I surely thought it would get there. Ugh.

    Perlmutter also has a ‘grain brain cookbook’, which starts off with this interesting anecdote (paraphrase):

    [ We took our dog to the vet because he was having some problems. The first question the vest asked, “What are you feeding him?”, struck me. Such a simple question strikes at the heart of the matter, and how often does our doctor ask this of ourselves when we go in with a problem? ]

    I believe a lot of health issues would be resolved by eliminating gluten from our diets. My mother, a lifetime nurse, thinks I will kill myself with bacon and eggs every day. I disagree, arguing that it is the oxidization of cholesterol which makes it bad, not the actual substance itself. What causes the oxidation? Refined carbs easily absorbed into the blood stream. Perhaps this is a little simplistic, but the books by Taubes and Perlmutter go into very great detail for anyone interested in exploring these ideas.

  4. Platos Cave,
    “In the 60’s people ate fat, cholesterol, carbs, sugar and there was no obesity epidemic. Lack of exercise, portion sizes and constant calorie consumption are the reasons for the obesity epidemic.”

    It was gaining some steam in the 60s, but the obesity epidemic didn’t really begin it’s uphill climb until high fructose corn syrup and low-fat junk hit the markets in the early 80s. Pop consumption was much lower prior to the 80s, too. Gary Taubes documents the history of obesity and its causes pretty well in Good Calories, Bad Calories.

    Here’s an article about it by Taubes:

  5. Thanks for the interesting comment, Inga. Though, I doubt firefighters are more likely to be of this genotype. 😉

    Does the high-ghrelin genotype still result in obesity in people who eat a diet low in grains or refined carbohydrates and high in micronutrient-dense foods (like a Paleo diet)? Can ghrelin be affected by hormonal-disruption due to thryoid or adrenal problems?

    Also, how do you think this factors into our current obesity epidemic?

    Sorry for the barrage of questions. I like learning and you’ve provided an enticing tidbit of new research. 🙂

  6. The problem with police, firefighters and even lifeguards is that they are only required to meet fitness standards when they are hired, Once they have the job they are not required to remain fit even though being fit is a major requirement in performing their job. I can’t help but think of people who claim women shouldn’t be firefighters because they are not strong enough, while we have obese men who probably can’t make it up 2 flights of stairs taking the jobs.

    Also, regarding the comments blaming obesity on genetics – think! The human genome has not magically changed in the last 40 years (species genetic changes take centuries at least). In the 60’s people ate fat, cholesterol, carbs, sugar and there was no obesity epidemic. Lack of exercise, portion sizes and constant calorie consumption are the reasons for the obesity epidemic.

  7. You are correct Prairie Rose, regarding Insulin and Leptin-the satiety hormone, levels. Also in certain genotypes, Ghrelin-the hunger hormone is always high and does not fall to normal levels even after eating large amounts. Testing was done on the brains of people with this genotype and it showed the continuous high levels of Ghrelin in thses people. This genotype is not all that uncommon either. It was just discovered a couple of years ago and proves that obesity has a strong genetic connection.

  8. Aridog,
    I should have been more complete in my answer. 🙂 You can hardly ever boil a problem down to a single point. Increased cortisol (especially chronically increased cortisol from chronic stress) affects insulin and leptin, so, in the presence of a diet of refined carbohydrates and sugar, there is weight gain.


    You also may have eaten fewer refined carbohydrates and more real food and were more physically active than the firefighters in the study, hence your leaner body.

  9. Paul Schulte,
    Not sure where you live, but where I live most of the firefighters are not as fit as they should be.

    Here is a study that might interest you:

    The actual study, linked after the second paragraph, is quite interesting.

    From the study:
    “Skepticism as to whether BMI is a valid measure of obesity in firefighters has led some to question if the obesity rates found in the fire service are accurate. Skep- tics point out that very muscular firefighters may have a high BMI but low body fat and be incorrectly labeled as obese. This concern has not held up when evaluated in scientific studies. For example, the team at the National Development and Research Institutes evaluated rates of misclassification of obesity status based on three body composition measures in firefighters including BMI, waist circumference, and measured body fat percentage. The evaluation found that BMI was an accurate way of classifying the weigh status of firefighters when com- pared to other, more clinical-based measures.”

    1. Prairie Rose – where I live, firefighters are in shape. Since they eat lunch out a lot, various local cafes, we get to see them in their turn-outs, but just t-shirts. Actually, they are out in the community a lot. They do a lot of community support building. They are very popular at the local grocery stores where they shop. 😉

  10. Prairie Rose … there may be something to that stress idea…however, in the most stressful time of my life, in uniform, I weighed 180 lbs at 6 feet tall and had a 31 inch waist. Today…not so much. ;-(

  11. We should put more donut shops in high crime areas. Had there been one on Canfield Avenue in west Ferguson the big guy would not have been so rude as to exercise his hoodie rights by walking down the middle of the street and he would be alive today. Twenty stores would not have been burned to the ground. AL Qaeda Sharptongue would not be flying out to Saint Louis. Governor Nixon’s political career would not be dead. Jack Mehoff would not have the new job as head coach of da Bears.

    What? What did I just say?

  12. I am not surprised. Increased cortisol drives weight gain. Both the police and clergy have stressful jobs.

  13. Must agree with Paul C Schulte … BMI misses the mark. Albeit, most honest “calculators” do say that a higher muscle mass can distort the finding.

    At least in my town, I know of no fat, let alone obese, firefighters or police officers who work the street. Don’t know about the desk jockeys. Here that NYC officer with the bulbous gut would be sent to the gym or else.

    My own BMI at 26.4 used to reflect muscle mass (but not a great amount IMO)…but due to changes in my physical health (like losing 2 inches in arms, shoulders, legs, etc…weight to cancer, now defeated, again, then gaining it back as a pot belly..ugh) and it is now the same 26.4 as before, for different reasons. I do not have much of a sweet tooth either. I need to get to the gym too. BMI says I need to lose about 12 lbs minimum…but I’d say more like 20+ unless & until I rebuild some of the lost muscle…wonder if I can do that at 72? Won’t know until I get past the “lazy” aspect ;(

    Pssst: locally I blame Anita Baker…who bought and demolished my favorite fine dinning restaurant (a very historic speak easy from the 30’s)…and built, of all things, an IHOP in its place. Judging only on the local demographics here, I suspect she knew her market.

  14. Protecting bodies (police) and souls (clergy) are apparently weighty endeavors…..

  15. Serving for one person at the 0:02 mark. Cops might have trouble making an arrest while digesting this stuff. Besides gaining weight.

  16. It sounds like Type A personalities – those who are driven to high achievement and competitive conditions as well as jobs that include moving around a lot, are in the svelte group. Advice to the obese one third: get on a scale every morning and if you haven’t lost weight from the day before, keep cutting back what you eat until the numbers drop down. Most likely you will need to exclude refined carbs and animal products. Vegetables are your friends.

  17. I find most firefighters to be incredible fit. Muscle weighs more than fat. Since they carry a lot of muscle because of their jobs, using just the fraudulent BMI as an index of obesity, yes they would appear obese, but in fact, they are not. Another study goes haywire.

  18. Cooks/chefs are constantly preparing food for others, but rarely eating themselves. Also the hot kitchen and tons of sweating helps to keep the weight off. Servers and bartenders are on their feet all night and constantly moving. Cardio is not an issue for them.

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