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Paleo Success: The Reno Police and Fire
Paleo Success: The Reno Police and Fire

Paleo Success: The Reno Police and Fire

The Reno Police Department has had great benefits from Paleo. The same ideas could work for and benefit you and your children. These ideas help you deal with and minimize stress, which make life better and learning easier. What’s more, a good diet gives one’s body and brain the material they need to build and work at their best. Clearly an important strategy to maximize learning potential, which is needed for the best, most successful life you can live. In “Officer Safety Corner: Resiliency as a Path to Wellness,” Reno Police Chief Steven Pitts (et. al.) says:
 In the fall of 2008, James Greenwald, MD, met with the executive staff of the RPD and proposed an idea. Recent advanced lipid testing could change the way the medical profession addressed officers who are at risk for cholesterol-related heart attacks and strokes and identify those at greater risk earlier in their careers. The RPD worked closely with the labor organizations to get officers to volunteer to participate in the three- to four-month program of evaluation. The participating officers were selected after a review of the mandatory annual physical exams. Currently, 37 states require annual physicals for police and fire services. The costs of the program at the time were approximately $1,000 per officer. The RPD obtained funding to support the program from a grant and from the city council. The early program components included advanced lipid testing, nutrition, and exercise.
Fifteen police officers participated in the program. Nine of those officers were initially described as high risk. Following the three-month analysis, the fifteen officers were reevaluated, and we learned that the nine high-risk officers had reduced their risk factors significantly through exercise, nutrition, and pharmacology. Recent data cited by Thomas Dayspring, MD, a leading lipidologist, show that the single largest cause of myocardial infarction (MI)—or heart attacks—in the United States is insulin resistance. In young adults, preventing insulin resistance is predicted to prevent 42 percent of MIs. In Nevada, a workers’ compensation claim for heart illness or related illness costs approximately $1.2 million per impacted employee. The nine high-risk officers in the first program were headed in the direction of medical retirements related to heart, diabetes, and lung issues, with total costs at approximately $10.8 million. The ROI for the initial program was estimated to be 20 percent. This ROI was estimated using the  following calculation:
  • Police officer participants: 15
  • Participants who were designated high risk with insulin resistance: 9
  • Total costs associated with an MI for medical retirement benefits and medical care for these 9 officers: $10.8 million
  • The total preventive costs for 15 officers during a 20-year period: $505,560
  • The ROI applied to this initial RPD program: 20 percent
Following are two case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of the program and its sustainability. Case studies and graphs are the property of SpecialtyHealth’s Wellness and Prevention Program (all rights reserved, June 2012).
Case one. This case involves a highly motivated 33-year-old police officer who, over a four-month period, has had a spectacular reversal of insulin resistance. This was accomplished with a low-carbohydrate diet, exercise, a weight loss of 12 pounds, and medication—in this case, a generic statin costing $10 every three months. The officer’s LDL dropped more than 1,200 points to ideal levels.
Case two. This case is a six-year follow-up on a 52-year-old police officer. He lost 40 pounds (including five inches from his waist) and corrected almost all of his numbers including four of the markers that diagnose him with metabolic syndrome. He went from having five out of five metabolic markers to one out of five. His overall risk dropped precipitously, and his triglycerides went from 270 to 38. These results were achieved by the same basic approach that was used in case one but with more pharmaceuticals. The corrections are sustainable.
Steven Pitts, James Greenwald, and Robb Wolf, “Resiliency as a Path to Wellness,” Officer Safety Corner, The Police Chief 79 (December 2012): 18–24.
More information is available in Robb Wolf’s blog post “Paleo Diet Risk Assessment” and “Paleo Diet Risk Assessment: Update.” The post includes a number of videos on the topic, videos featuring police personnel, fire personnel, and Robb Wolf and other health practitioners.

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