Stature, body mass, and body mass index in high school American football players: Appropriate determinants of obesity prevalence?

Alegra I. Mendez, Amelia A. Miramonti, Zachary M. Gillen, Brianna D. McKay, Todd J. Leutzinger, Joel T. Cramer

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Mendez, AI, Miramonti, AA, Gillen, ZM, McKay, BD, Leutzinger, TJ, and Cramer, JT. Stature, body mass, and BMI in high school American football players: Appropriate determinants of obesity prevalence? J Strength Cond Res 32(11): 3119-3126, 2018- The purpose of this study was to evaluate stature (HT), mass (BM), body mass index (BMI), and obesity prevalence based on BMI categories in a large sample (n = 7,175) of high school American football players enrolled as freshmen, sophomores, or juniors. Players were categorized by their positions: offensive linemen (OLs), defensive linemen (DLs), tight end, defensive end, linebacker, running back, quarterback, defensive back, and wide receiver. The HT, BM, and BMI increased as grade increased among all positions. Offensive lineman and DL had the greatest HT, BM, and BMI (p # 0.05). Obesity prevalence was greatest in OL and DL. When accounting for age-related increases in BMI, BM increased to a greater degree than HT. If HT is an indirect indicator of skeletal size, although BM is more influenced by soft tissue, then the age-related BMI increases in this study may be largely accounted for by soft-Tissue changes rather than skeletal growth. Although obesity prevalence in OL (94.5%) and DL (78.4%) positions was greater than all other positions as determined from BMI, it is impossible to know the allocations of fat-free and fat mass-particularly in American football athletes. If obesity continues to be defined as an unhealthy accumulation of fat, then athletes who may have a greater relative proportion of lean soft tissue should not be classified as obese using BMI (BM O HT 2 ). More sophisticated, reliable, and sensitive measure of body composition, such as skinfolds, may be more appropriate field measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3119-3126
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Athlete
  • Fat-free mass
  • Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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