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Healthy Living

Weight Gain in Football

​Despite the continuing epidemic of obesity in American youth, many adolescent males actively seek to gain weight. This is particularly true in American football, a sport in which players have much higher rates of overweight and obesity than population norms.

Weight Gain Common Among Football Players 

A 2005 study on community football players in Michigan demonstrated an upward drift in BMI starting at 11 years of age and median BMIs around the 90th percentile in boys 11 to 14 years of age.

Between 2001 and 2009, average weights for college-recruited high school offensive linesmen and defensive tackles have been approximately 130 kg (286 lb).

Performance Benefits Do Not Outweigh the Risk For Health Issues

Unfortunately, this degree of obesity is also conferring significant increases in:

Any performance benefit to weight gain needs to be tempered by concerns that excessive weight gain during childhood and adolescence often leads to a lifetime of issues with overweight and obesity, and athletic participation does not appear to protect these individuals from adverse health implications.

Adolescents who seek to gain weight should be advised to focus on gains in lean mass, while minimizing gains in fat mass.

Additional Information:

Last Updated
Pediatric Nutrition, 7th Edition (Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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