Knowledge and awareness of heat-related morbidity among adult recreational endurance athletes

Derek G. Shendell, Melannie S. Alexander, Lauren Lorentzson, Frances A. McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adults have been increasingly motivated to compete in recreational endurance sports events. Amateurs may lack a complete understanding of recommended strategies for handling heat and humidity, making heat-related illnesses increasingly possible. This is compounded by global climate change and increasing average surface and air temperatures, especially in urban areas of industrialized nations in Europe and North America that have hosted most events to date. We conducted an on-line, secure survey at the 2nd Annual ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2008. We included previously validated questions on participant socio-demographics, training locations, and knowledge and awareness of heat-related illnesses. Participants were aware of heat illnesses, and of heat stroke as a serious form of heat stress. However, the majority, across age and gender, did not understand the potential severity of heat stroke. Furthermore, 1-in-5 participants did not understand the concept of heat stress as a form of heat-related illness, and how heat stress may result from buildup of muscle-generated heat in the body. Adult recreational endurance athletes are another susceptible, vulnerable population sub-group for applied research and public health educational interventions, especially in urban areas of industrialized nations in Europe and North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-448
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Biometeorology
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 22 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Keywords

  • Endurance sports
  • Heat stress
  • Heat stroke
  • Recreational athletes
  • Urban health

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