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Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2011;13(4):211-20.

Health disparities in police officers: comparisons to the U.S. general population.

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Biostatistics and Epidemiology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, USA.


Police officers have one of the poorest cardiovascular disease (C'D) health profiles of any occupation. The goal of this study was to determine if police officers in the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) Study (between 2004 and 2009) had a more adverse CV profile than the general US. employed population. Nearly one-half (46.9%) of the officers worked a non-day shift compared to 9% of U.S. workers. The percent of officers with depression was nearly double (12.0% vs. 6.8%) and officers were nearly four times more likely to sleep less than six hours in a 24-hour period than the general population (33.0% vs. 8.0%). A higher percentage of officers were obese (40.5% vs. 32.1%), had the metabolic syndrome (26.7% vs. 18.7%), and had higher mean serum total cholesterol levels (200.8 mg/dL vs. 193.2 mg/dL) than the comparison employed populations. In addition to having higher levels of traditional CVD risk factors, police officers had higher levels of non-traditional CVD risk factors. These findings highlight the need for expanding the definition of a health disparity to include occupation. Future studies should expand this comparison to additional traditional and non-traditional CVD risk factors and to other occupational groups.

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