Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Abel


The prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among law enforcement officers (LEOs) is slightly higher than the general population. Furthermore, the prevalence of CVD doubles among LEOs following retirement compared to the general population. The measure of arterial stiffness serves as an independent risk factor that has prognostic value for future incidence of CVD. However, there is limited research on lifestyle, occupational, and demographic factors that may be associated with increased arterial stiffness in LEOs. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to compare the level of arterial stiffness among LEOs versus the general population and to identify lifestyle, occupational, and demographic predictors of arterial stiffness in LEOs. Seventy male career LEOs between the ages of 24 to 54 years from Kentucky and southwest Ohio participated in this study. LEOs completed a variety of questionnaires related to health/occupational histories, occupational stress, and diet. LEOs’ body composition (bioelectrical impedance), central and brachial blood pressures, and physical activity (triaxial accelerometers) were assessed. The dependent variable of arterial stiffness was measured by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV). A variety of statistical techniques including 1 sample t-tests, Pearson product moment correlations, and multiple linear regression were utilized in study analyses, with a level of significance set at p < 0.05. Compared to the general population cfPWV was significantly lower among LEO’s under 30 years of age (mean difference = -0.6 m·s-1), but significantly higher among LEOs 50-55 years of age (mean difference = 1.1 m·s-1). Utilizing stepwise multiple linear regression, age, relative body fat, and diastolic blood pressure explained the most variance in LEO’s cfPWV (adj. R2 = 0.56, p < 0.001). The primary findings of this investigation demonstrate that arterial stiffness may progress more rapidly in LEOs compared to the general population and that LEOs should focus on maintaining appropriate levels of relative body fat and blood pressure to regulate arterial stiffness and risk of CVD.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)