Thursday, March 03, 2005

Football Fat Follies

I heard this statistic on the radio yesterday: 56% of NFL players are technically obese, and 100% are technically overweight.

Now, does this demonstrate that NFL players are unhealthy? Or does it illustrate the arbitrariness of measuring health using Body Mass Index (BMI), which doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle mass as sources of weight? Keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat.

I’ve seen football players, and some of them are assuredly fat. But one-hundred percent? That figure includes many great athletes, including your star quarterbacks and running backs. (If I were actually a football fan I would name a few, but since I’m not, I won’t. I’d probably name guys who retired years ago and really are fat now.) Any measure that classifies every single member of a physically demanding professional sport as overweight is automatically suspect.

Here’s a Sports Illustrated article on the subject.

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