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Over 115 firefighters and civilian employees take the challenge to lose weight and make healthy choices to accomplish fitness goals

Recent research shows that rates of overweight and obese individuals in the fire service are higher than those found in the general public. Traditionally, occupational factors place firefighters at high risk for weight gain, including shift work, sleep disruption, and unhealthy eating patterns in the firehouse. These statistics to do not reference the Fire Department staff in Madison Wisconsin due to the creative promotion of health programs by the Firefighters Local 311 and the Madison Fire Department Command Staff.
This January the Madison Fire Department along with Firefighters Local 311 "challenged" its personnel with a friendly competition that promotes "strength in numbers" by connecting civilian employees, command staff and sworn (local 311) personnel with the goal of improved health and wellness. The competition aimed to promote teamwork, camaraderie, and healthy habits that can help transform lives and prolong careers.
The Fitness Challenge is a 12-week competition that began January 22nd with weigh-ins and initial assessments and will end mid April. Over 115 (including one stationed in Afghanistan) fire department personnel registered for the challenge and are using healthy strategies to incorporate more exercise and better eating habits around the firehouse (and their own homes). Regardless of age or level of fitness, the Fitness Challenge is providing special incentives to help participants achieve health and wellness goals.
The Firefighters Local 311 and the Madison Fire Department aim to insure the safety of their members, the community in which they serve, and other fire rescue personnel around the world. The Fitness Challenge was created to help promote these ideals and aims to inspire other departments and agencies to promote health and wellness for their members. To date, other agencies including the Milwaukee Fire Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are using the Local 311 Fitness Challenge as a template to create similar programs.


  • Aaron Zamzow, 612-220-8175