Major league baseball players have higher overweight and obesity rate

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baseball players

Professional athletes have assumed to be the models of ideal health and performance. Sometimes, they increase their body mass to achieve a better sport performance.

However, increased body mass may bring health risks. In a recent study, researchers find that professional baseball players in the USA have higher rates of overweight and obesity compared with common people.

The finding is published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. Researchers from The Pennsylvania State University, Northwestern University, and Coeus Health Company in Chicago conducted the study.

They examined 145 years of data on body mass in 17,918 male professional baseball players in the USA at the time of their professional debut.

They found that in these players, both height and weight at debut have increased over time. Before 1991, a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 was normal for a player, but after 1991 the average player’s BMI began to rise.

Over the last 25 years, about 80% of players had a BMI higher than 25 and fell into the overweight or obese category, while normal weight prevalence decreased from approximately 60% to 20% during the time.

Researchers suggest that having extra weight may help with certain aspects of baseball playing. For example, a heavier player may put more force into the ball and make it travel farther.

In addition, a single BMI number can be misleading, because it does not take body composition into account. Players may add more muscle other than fat into their body.

Nevertheless, athlete trainers should pay attention to the potential long-term harmful effects of overweight. A balance between good sport performance and good physical health is very important.


Citation: Conroy DE, et al. (2016). Overweight and obesity among Major League Baseball players: 1871–2015. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 10: 610. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2016.09.003.
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