Page 130 - Athletic Health Handbook
P. 130
TEAM PHYSICIAN’S CORNER

OBESITY IN FOOTBALL: IS BIGGER
REALLY BETTER?

WAYNE J. SEBASTIANELLI, MD IS BIGGER REALLY BETTER WHEN IT COMES
Penn State Orthopaedics TO A FOOTBALL PLAYER’S SIZE? Studies have shown a
State College, Pennsylvania
consistent uptrend in the body mass index (BMI) of professional football
players. There is evidence BMI has also increased in both high school and
collegiate players. Though the health effects of obesity in lay people are
well-documented, heavy athletes are also at risk for sleep apnea, cardiovas-
cular disease, arthritis, and premature death.

The Scope of the Problem

The progression of the physical prowess of football players over the last
20 years is quite impressive. Not only amongst professional football players
has the body weight at each position increased approximately 20 to 25
pounds, but high school and college players are becoming larger as well.
On average, each position in the sport of football has increased in weight
approximately 20 pounds over the last two decades.1,2

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