Individual anthropometric, aerobic capacity and demographic characteristics as predictors of heat intolerance in military populations

Alele, Faith O., Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S., Malau-Aduli, Aduli E.O., and Crowe, Melissa J. (2021) Individual anthropometric, aerobic capacity and demographic characteristics as predictors of heat intolerance in military populations. Medicina, 57 (2). 173.

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Background and objectives: The Australian Defence Force (ADF) engages in combat-related activities in hot climatic conditions, which exposes ADF members to the threat of exertional heat illness (EHI). After an episode of EHI, the heat tolerance test (HTT) is conducted to determine heat tolerance. Heat intolerance is the inability to maintain thermal balance while exercising in a hot environment. This study investigated the predictive roles of individual characteristics (age, gender, aerobic capacity (VO2max) and body composition) on physiological responses to the HTT in a group comprising ADF personnel and civilian volunteers.

Materials and Methods: A quasi-experimental design was used and 52 (38 males and 14 females) participants were recruited from the ADF and the general population for the HTT. Heat intolerance was defined following the standard criteria for the HTT (temperature and heart rate). Data were analysed using inferential statistics.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 31.1 ± 11.6 years, and 44% (23 people: 19 males and 4 females) of the participants were heat intolerant. Independent samples T-test showed that body mass index (p = 0.011) and body fat% (p = 0.034) of heat-intolerant participants were significantly higher than their heat-tolerant counterparts. Body surface area to mass ratio (p = 0.005) and aerobic capacity (p = 0.001) were significantly lower in heat-intolerant participants. Regression analyses showed that age, gender, aerobic capacity and body fat% were significant (p < 0.001) predictors of heat tolerance outcomes, with R2 values ranging from 0.505 to 0.636.

Conclusion: This study showed that aerobic capacity, body fat%, age and gender are predictors of heat intolerance among military and non-military populations. However, there may be a need for future studies to consider identifying other indicators such as clinical biomarkers of heat intolerance, which could be used to develop a more reliable HTT protocol.

Item ID: 66030
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1648-9144
Related URLs:
Copyright Information: Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CCBY) license (http://cre‐
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2021 04:22
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420702 Exercise physiology @ 90%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3208 Medical physiology > 320803 Systems physiology @ 10%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1306 Sport, exercise and recreation > 130601 Exercise @ 50%
14 DEFENCE > 1401 Defence > 140199 Defence not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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