BCBS Grant to Fund Police Health Study | Local / state titles
A grant of $ 25,000 was approved for an interdisciplinary project at Louisiana Tech University to research and implement new ways to protect the health of police officers.
Principal Investigator Dr Todd Castleberry, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology; Dr Jean Chen, associate professor of kinesiology; and Dr. Vicky Green, director of dietetics internships at the School of Human Ecology; will lead the research project.
“This grant will be used to help collect blood for health markers, in addition to police fitness data,” Castleberry said. This project was selected for its innovative approach to promoting health in a specific population of Louisiana citizens who must be in good health and fit to perform the duties of their work. With this new approach, we hope that the ‘improving the overall health of law enforcement ultimately improving the relationship between citizens and police. “
Castleberry, Chen, and Green applied for the grant through the Louisiana Tech University Foundation, and it was funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.
“The Louisiana Tech University Foundation and the BCBS of Louisiana Foundation have provided our college with the opportunity to showcase the real benefits of the innovative research of the Department of Kinesiology,” said Dr. Don Schillinger, Dean of the College of Education.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the accomplished and talented faculty in the Department of Kinesiology who are conducting world-class research to positively impact the well-being of critical public servants in our community,” said Dr. Lindsey Vincent, Associate Dean at research, Awareness and innovation. “We at the College of Education at Louisiana Tech University are grateful for the investment of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation who share the interest and passion for this important initiative. “
In the grant, Castleberry, Chen and Green wrote that “the unpredictable nature of law enforcement officers’ work requires that they be physically prepared to perform different tasks with precision and efficiency,” which will likely indicate that ” a specially designed physical training program around these motivators to establish good physical condition without outside pressure from others would be a significant strategy to tackle the problem.
According to previous research, Chen said, the average fitness level and state of health of most law enforcement officers is worse than that of the general population. Both officers and administrations recognize the need to be in good physical shape, but they all express a concern for having a support system to enforce the standard.
“This is where our project comes in handy,” Chen said. “In addition to the fitness elements, we’ll also be looking at diet and the nutritional perspective. Our goal is to teach agents to eat on and off their shifts.
The research portion of the project is expected to last approximately one year, and the design of the physical training program will be based on a recent study on the exercise motivations of law enforcement officers in northeast Louisiana by Chen and Castleberry. In this previous research, they found important motivators to exercise based on age, affiliated agency, marital status, and number of children they have.
“We hope that the participating officers continue to exercise and eat right after the research portion is over,” Chen said. “We also hope that we can receive more internal or external funds so that we can contact more officers outside of northeast Louisiana. Our goal is to expand the physical training program with diet and nutrition education to the entire state of Louisiana, neighboring states, and eventually the entire country. “