Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(13):2767-2775. doi:10.7150/ijms.60696 This issue

Research Paper

Exercise capacity, cardiovascular and metabolic risk of the sample of German police officers in a descriptive international comparison

Markus Strauss1,2✉, Peter Foshag2, Ulrich Jehn3, Richard Vollenberg4, Anna Brzęk5, Roman Leischik2

1. Department of Cardiology I- Coronary and Peripheral Vascular Disease, Heart Failure Medicine, University Hospital Muenster, Cardiol, 48149 Muenster, Germany.
2. Department of Cardiology, Faculty of Health, School of Medicine, University Witten/Herdecke, 58095, Hagen, Germany.
3. Department of Medicine D, Division of General Internal Medicine, Nephrology and Rheumatology, University Hospital of Muenster, 48149 Muenster, Germany.
4. Department of Medicine B, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Münster, 48149, Muenster, Germany.
5. Department of Physiotherapy, Chair of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland.

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Strauss M, Foshag P, Jehn U, Vollenberg R, Brzęk A, Leischik R. Exercise capacity, cardiovascular and metabolic risk of the sample of German police officers in a descriptive international comparison. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(13):2767-2775. doi:10.7150/ijms.60696. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Background: The police force has the mandate to protect citizens and enforce the law for public safety. Employment in the police force is recognized as a dangerous occupation and characterized by job-related physical hazards. Therefore, good health and adequate physical condition are necessary. This study aimed to determine cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory, and metabolic risk parameters of German police officers (POs) in comparison to POs from other nations.

Methods: 55 male police officers from Germany participated in the survey. We examined anthropometric measurements, cardiovascular/metabolic risk factors and blood parameters. Additionally, we calculated 10-year cardiovascular risk using the Framingham Risk Score. The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome bases on the criteria of the International Diabetes Federation. We assessed cardiorespiratory status by exercise spirometry.

Results: The analyzed group of POs demonstrated a high prevalence of pre obesity (BMI: 28.0±3.2 kg/m², waist circumference: 97.8±12.4 cm). 61.8 % of POs showed an increased waist circumference. POs showed high prevalence of abnormal values of triglyceride (n: 24, 43,6%), and systolic (n: 29, 52,7%) and diastolic (n: 27, 49%) blood pressure. The average 10-year cardiovascular risk (by Framingham) was classified as moderate (9.6 ± 7.4 %). 32 % (n: 18) of POs in our study group were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Maximal relative oxygen uptake of POs was 34.1 ± 8.0 ·ml/kg-1 ·min-1.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this study was one of the first to assess data on cardiovascular health, metabolic syndrome and cardiorespiratory status of police officers in Germany. The results of our study demonstrated an increased cardiovascular and metabolic risk and decreased cardiorespiratory fitness in German police officers. The present study results underline the need to implement health-promoting interventions and concepts like corporate sports activities or nutrition courses to counteract cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. We have to reduce the subsequent development of cardiovascular and metabolic disease in this occupational group.

Keywords: police officers, physical fitness, risk factor, cardiovascular risk, metabolic risk, cardiorespiratory fitness