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Nine Percent of High School Football Linemen Obese

Iowa study suggests that almost half of all players overweight

TUESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one in 10 Iowa high school football linemen is severely obese, while almost half are overweight, according to a Research Letter in the Jan. 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Joey C. Eisenmann, Ph.D., of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and a colleague analyzed the body mass index of 3,683 linemen on 251 of the 364 Iowa high school football teams in the fall of 2005.

The researchers found the players' mean body mass index was over the 85th percentile in all grades. Forty-five percent of players were overweight, far exceeding the 18.3 percent of boys aged 12 to 19 who were overweight in a national 2003-2004 survey. Meanwhile, 28 percent of the players ran the risk of being overweight.

Players' mean body mass index increased from 26.1 for freshmen to 28.5 for seniors. The researchers report that 7 percent of the players were adult class II obese, with a body mass index of 35-39, and 2 percent were class III obese, with a 40 or higher body mass index.

"The prevalence of overweight in this group of high school linemen was 45 percent," the authors write. "Of these students, 9 percent would be classified with adult severe obesity."

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