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Improved Body Mass Index Classification for Football Code Masters Athletes, A Comparison to the Australian National Population

Authors: Joe Walsh, Mike Climstein, Ian Timothy Heazlewood, Stephen Burke, Jyrki Kettunen, Kent Adams, Mark DeBeliso

Abstract:

Thousands of masters athletes participate quadrennially in the World Masters Games (WMG), yet this cohort of athletes remains proportionately under-investigated. Due to a growing global obesity pandemic in context of benefits of physical activity across the lifespan, the prevalence of obesity in this unique population was of particular interest. Data gathered on a sub-sample of 535 football code athletes, aged 31-72 yrs ( =47.4, s =±7.1), competing at the Sydney World Masters Games (2009) demonstrated a significantly (p<0.001), reduced classification of obesity using Body Mass Index (BMI) when compared to data on the Australian national population. This evidence of improved classification in one index of health (BMI<30) implies there are either improved levels of this index of health due to adherence to sport or possibly the reduced BMI is advantageous and contributes to this cohort adhering (or being attracted) to masters sport. Given the worldwide focus on the obesity epidemic and the need for a multi-faceted solution to this problem, demonstration of these middle to older aged adults having improved BMI over the general population is of particular interest.

Keywords: BMI, masters athlete, rugby union, soccer, touch football

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1086181

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