[abstract] DEMOGRAPHICS AND ILLNESS PREVALENCE IN A RECREATIONAL SCUBA DIVER POPULATION: FITNESS TO DIVE

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[abstract] DEMOGRAPHICS AND ILLNESS PREVALENCE IN A RECREATIONAL SCUBA DIVER POPULATION: FITNESS TO DIVE

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Title: [abstract] DEMOGRAPHICS AND ILLNESS PREVALENCE IN A RECREATIONAL SCUBA DIVER POPULATION: FITNESS TO DIVE
Author: Hanson, E; Fleisher, J; Jackman, RP; Uguccioni, DM; Thalmann, ED; Cudahy, EA
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Both the medical and popular literature suggests that a significant proportion of the recreational scuba diving population may have chronic medical conditions that affect their fitness to dive. The purpose of this study was to characterize the demographics and illness prevalence of a recreational scuba diving population. METHODS: The research design is a cross-sectional demographics and prevalence study of randomly selected members of the Diver's Alert Network who were sent a validated, anonymous four page questionnaire regarding diagnosed health conditions, demographics and dive habits. 3,000 questionnaires were mailed out, 1,674 (55.8percent) were completed and returned (approximately 1percent of DAN members). RESULTS: 1,673 were analyzed; one military active duty diver was excluded. Demographics: 1,250 (74.8percent) were male and 421 (25.2percent) were female. Average age was 40 (SD +/- 11) with a range from 13 to 84. Age breakdown by gender was not statistically different. In our sample, 43.1percent had body mass index (BMI) calculated as ideal, 40.0percent as overweight and 13.6percent as obese according to NIH recommended BMI guidelines for males and females. Illness Prevalence: Hypertension was the number one diagnosed condition at 9.7percent. Asthma was second at 8.4percent (includes childhood asthma resolving by age 12, 4.2percent). Therefore the prevalence of active asthmatic disease in our population is 4.2percent. CONCLUSIONS: Although the data applies to a select population of divers, it suggests that a substantial number of certified recreational scuba divers may have potentially disqualifying medical conditions according to the Recreational Scuba Training Council's guidelines for screening potential divers. In interpreting the results, the following limitations need to be considered: self-reported nature of the study, select population and a 55.8 percent response rate.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/877
Date: 1999

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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