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College football linemen take one for the team in terms of health
Date:12/7/2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio The high-intensity exercise performed by college football linemen does not protect them from obesity, related health problems and the potential for cardiovascular disease later in life, new research suggests.

In an assessment of 90 collegiate football players from a single Division I team, only offensive and defensive linemen were deemed obese because they had 25 percent or more body fat.

Among the obese linemen, almost 60 percent were insulin resistant and 42 percent had metabolic syndrome, or at least three of five risk factors that indicate a person has higher chances of developing heart disease and diabetes than those without the risk factors.

The findings should raise awareness about how health risks can go hand-in-hand with an emphasis on size for all football players and especially linemen, researchers say.

"I think the perception out there is that football players, at every level, are getting bigger," said James Borchers, assistant professor of clinical family medicine at Ohio State University and lead author of the study. "But I think players need to recognize that as they get into unhealthy levels of body fat, there's a risk that comes along with that. And you're not protected from that risk just because you're active in football."

Borchers, a sports medicine specialist and Ohio State football team physician, said the medical staff counsels student athletes about nutrition and overall health.

"Clinicians also really need to be paying attention when these guys are done playing," he said. "Many players will be done after college. What happens to their body weight then? Can we help decrease their risk for metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance, or even potential cardiovascular problems, with intervention and by keeping an eye on their natural progression once they're done playing? I think that's where we can make an impact."

The research is published in the current issu
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Contact: James Borchers
james.borchers@osumc.edu
614-293-3600
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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