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Younger linemen packing on the pounds

January 29, 2007|From Times wire reports

Heavy tackles and 300-pound nose guards are common in pro and college football. Now a study shows the trend toward beefier, overweight linemen is emerging at the high school level.

Researchers at Iowa State University found that nearly half of the offensive and defensive linemen playing on Iowa high school teams qualify as overweight, and 1 in 10 meet medical standards for severe obesity.

"These are 15- and 16-year-old boys that have a weight and body-mass ... that as they enter adulthood puts many at a very adverse health condition," said Dr. Joe Eisenmann, co-author of the study and a professor in pediatric exercise physiology at Iowa State.

The study appears in the Jan. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

The study's researchers began by gathering height and weight data of 3,683 varsity linemen available from rosters from all classes of Iowa high school football teams. They used that data to calculate a body-mass index, the same tool used for the NFL study.

Of the players analyzed, 28% were deemed at risk of being overweight and 45% fit the standards for being overweight, including 9% who met adult severe obesity standards.

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