Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition - A dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The Benefits of a Wellness Program on the Long-term Health and Performance of Fire Fighters

Saturday May 5, 2018
5:05 PM - 6:05 PM

Session Abstract:

Firefighting is a demanding occupation that requires a high level of physical fitness and job performance. The Montgomery Fire and Rescue Department has worked with the Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) at Auburn University Montgomery for more than 30 years regarding fire fighter performance and employee wellness. During that time, polices have been developed related to job performance (Job Task Analysis (JTA)), physical activity, body composition, and nutrition counseling. Fire fighters are evaluated each year on factors including JTA performance, physical examination (sit-ups, push-ups, and 1.5 mile run), and body composition (% body fat). The HPL has data collected over an 18 year period evaluating physical and performance changes. As firefighters age many experience changes in their fitness and performance, and increasingly the younger generations struggle to meet the fitness and performance standards. The results of the program indicate the importance of fire departments having wellness and fitness policies.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. To illustrate the importance of a wellness/fitness program to a fire fighter’s career. 
  2. To demonstrate the association of body composition as related to aging, performance, and fitness. 
  3. To discuss the importance and challenges of nutrition counseling unique to fire fighters.


Deanne Allegro, MS, RD, LD

Deanne Allegro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Auburn University Montgomery and is the Wellness and Nutrition Consultant for the Montgomery Fire and Rescue Department. She brings with her a variety of work experience, including clinical, community, research and higher education.

Henry N. Williford, EdN, FACSM, C-EP

Henry N. Williford Jr. is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Auburn University Montgomery. He is Director of the Human Performance Laboratory, and has conducted research related to physical activity and health for over 35 years. He has published more than 100 research articles and presented research in the United States, Europe, Central, and South America. He chaired the American College of Sports Medicine Consumer information Committee for over 10 years. His research interests relate to how physical activity can improve health and performance. He is the exercise physiologist for Montgomery Fire Department, and past chair of the Alabama Obesity Task Force. The Montgomery Fire Department is known internationally for their success with the Fire Fighter Combat Challenge.