The healthy diver: A cross-sectional survey to evaluate the health status of recreational scuba diver members of Divers Alert Network (DAN).
BACKGROUND: Scuba diver fitness is paramount to confront environmental stressors of diving. However, the diving population is aging and the increasing prevalence of diseases may be a concern for diver fitness. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to assess the demographics, lifestyle factors, disease prevalence, and healthcare access and utilization of Divers Alert Network (DAN) members and compare them with those from the general population. METHODS: DAN membership health survey (DMHS) was administered online in 2011 to DAN members in the United States (US). Health status of DMHS respondents was compared with the general US population data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System using two-sided student's t-tests and Mantel-Haenszel chi-square tests. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with healthcare utilization among the DMHS participants. RESULTS: Compared to the general US population, the DMHS population had lower prevalence of asthma, heart attack, angina, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and disabilities (p<0.01); more heavy alcohol drinkers, and fewer smokers (p<0.01); and greater access and utilization (routine checkup) of healthcare (p<0.01). Healthcare utilization in males was lower than among females. Increasing age and increase in the number of chronic illnesses were associated with increased healthcare utilization. CONCLUSIONS: DAN members are healthier than the general US population. DAN members also have better access to healthcare and utilize healthcare for preventive purposes more often than the general population. DAN members appear to have a better fitness level than their non-diving peers.
Ranapurwala, SI; Kucera, KL; Denoble, PJ
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