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Prev Cardiol. 2001 Summer;4(3):103-108.

Analysis of lipoproteins and body mass index in professional football players.

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  • 1The East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC 27858.


Exercise is known to improve lipoprotein levels, whereas an elevated body mass index (BMI) is associated with less favorable lipoprotein levels. To date, there have been no reports of lipid analyses in elite athletes who also have BMIs in ranges considered unhealthful. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the lipid-lipoprotein profiles in a group of professional football players and to determine what association exists between these profiles and the players' BMIs. An observational study was conducted of 70 professional football players from one National Football League team. Measurements included BMI (kgcenter dotm(-2)), and fasting serum lipid analysis. BMI and position played were found to correlate (p<0.001), with linemen having the highest mean BMI, 38.1 kgcenter dotmsuperset or impliesminus sign2;. Comparing mean lipid values among BMI categories demonstrated lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (p<0.01), higher triglycerides (p<0.05), and higher total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratios (p<0.001) with an increasing BMI. Among the professional football players studied, a lower BMI was associated with a more favorable lipid-lipoprotein profile. Among the elite athletes in this study with the highest BMIs, exercise may not confer the same protective benefits on cardiovascular risk as it does in those athletes with normal BMIs. (c)2001 CHF, Inc.

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