Throughout the last 100 days, firefigthers improved their health and wellness as part of the 2014 My Heart Challenge

Jess Gomez

 801.507.7455

 Jess.Gomez@imail.org

 6/27/2014

They battle fires, save lives and make our communities safe. For the past 100 days, 15 firefighters from seven Salt Lake County fire agencies faced one of their most difficult battles: improving their health and wellness as part of the 2014 My Heart Challenge, sponsored by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

The 2014 My Heart Challenge winner and most improved firefighter were crowned Wednesday at the My Heart Challenge finale luncheon at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.

Terry Addison, battalion chief with the South Salt Lake Fire Department, is the overall winner of the 100-day challenge. He finished the contest with the most points. The most improved firefighter is Sharee Rosqvist, a paramedic/firefighter with the West Jordan Fire Department.

Firefighters from Murray City, Salt Lake City, Sandy City, South Salt Lake, Unified Fire Authority, West Jordan and West Valley City participated in the My Heart Challenge contest. Over the course of 14 weeks, firefighters worked with a team from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute that included exercise specialists, dietitians and heart experts to develop individualized plans that helped them make positive, health-improving changes to their lives.

As the firefighters got healthier, the pounds melted away. During the 100-day challenge, the 15 firefighters lost a combined 498 pounds, which is a new Heart Challenge record — and an average of 33.2 pounds per participant. Last year, 15 Salt Lake County principals lost 228 pounds, or an average of 17.5 pounds each, and in 2012, 11 local mayors and city leaders lost 179 pounds, or an average of 16.2 pounds each.

The firefighters ended up not only slimmer, but healthier, more energetic, and more likely to avoid heart disease, heart attacks, and other serious health risks. They also reduced their total cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, body fat, and waist circumference.

“I feel great and am really thankful for the opportunity to participate in the 2014 My Heart Challenge,” said Addison. “Everyone who participated is a winner because we all walk away from this with the knowledge and confidence to maintain these improvements.”

Firefighters were given a comprehensive set of heart tests at the beginning of the Challenge to establish a baseline. Those same tests were repeated at the end of the 100 days to help firefighters measure their personal progress.

The My Heart Challenge contest not only helped firefighters enhance their heart health and reduce their risk of heart attack and heart disease, but also enabled them to spread that message to their colleagues in their fire stations and throughout their communities. All of the firefighters were honored at the luncheon for the achievement.

Rosqvist says the improvements in her health have been dramatic.

“I have so much more energy now. Everything is easier, like playing with the neighbor kids or just doing my job. Everything I do is not as exhausting as it was,” she said.

The My Heart Challenge contest was developed by cardiac experts at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, one of the premier heart centers in the nation, to help raise community awareness about the importance of being active and heart healthy.

The firefighters were so grateful for the help that they received they crowned exercise physiologist Meagan Kline and dietitian Kary Woodruff as honorary fire chiefs for the guidance they offered all of them during the 100-day challenge.

The 2014 My Heart Challenge Participants
(Listed alphabetically by last name)

Terry Addison Battalion Chief
South Salt Lake Fire Department

Todd Caldwell Battalion Chief
Unified Fire Authority

Bruce Cline Fire Chief
Sandy City Fire Department

John Gulley Firefighter
Unified Fire Authority

Chris Kinzel Captain
West Jordan Fire Department

David Larsen Firefighter
South Salt Lake Fire Department

Mary Lindsay-Vonk Engineer/Paramedic
West Valley City Fire Department

Jeff Paul Firefighter/Engineer
West Jordan Fire Department

Kevin Platt Firefighter/Paramedic
Sandy City Fire Department

Fenton Quinn Firefighter/Engineer
Unified Fire Authority

Gil Rodriguez Fire Chief
Murray City Fire Department

Sharee Rosqvist Firefighter/Paramedic
West Jordan Fire Department

Karl Steadman Battalion Chief
Salt Lake City Fire Department

Marc West Captain
Unified Fire Authority

Scott White Captain
Murray City Fire Department
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