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Abstract

Background: Weight management is critical in police work. It can have both legal and life-saving implications as it is linked to the health and physical readiness of the officers. A weight loss competition is one way to address weight management in police work. Among the factors to consider is gender impact, as females forge forward within a male environment. Also, assessing weight loss among obesity categories is essential for designing effective programing. Purpose: To compare mass changes among body mass index (BMI) categories and between genders at biweekly weigh-ins during a 12-week competition with recommendations for professionals. Methods: Before the competition began, the participants were instructed that those teams recording greatest percentage loss won. Body mass (body weight) comparisons were made between genders and among BMI categories. Results: Mean body mass lost for the 225 officers was 5.26 kg. Genders had similar mass losses. Normal and overweight BMI classes had significantly (p ≤ 0.05) less body mass changes than obese classes. In weeks 2 to 4, the extreme obese category experienced greatest losses. No differences were found in amount of loss among any of the groups from weeks 6 to 12. Conclusion: This multiple-site, large-scale and low-cost intervention specific to police was successful. The program had equivalent gender impact in terms of mass lost. In the second half of the program, the higher BMI groups did not lose significantly more than the lower BMI groups indicating physiological and/or motivational effects to be addressed in future programs.

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