Body mass index of masters basketball players

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Publication details

Walsh, J, Climstein, M, Heazlewood, IT, DeBeliso, M, Adams, K, Burke, S & Kettunen, J 2011, 'Body mass index of masters basketball players', Medicina Sportiva, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 1700-1705.

Peer Reviewed



Aim and Scope: Thousands of masters athletes participate quadrennially in the World Masters Games (WMG). However, this unique cohort remains under investigated. With a need for multifaceted solutions to the global obesity epidemic, investigating special populations such as those competing in sport at mature-older ages may further the understanding of the nexus between aging, physical activity and obesity. The aim of this cross-sectional comparative study was to investigate body mass index (BMI) within the WMG competitors in context with national populations and health guidelines. We hypothesized that the prevalence of obesity in the WMG cohort would be less than comparative national populations and males would demonstrate a higher level of obesity than females.

Methods: A total of 408 (44.1% male, 55.9% female) WMG basketball players aged 29-77yrs (mean 52.2, SD ± 8.0) were investigated via an online survey and compared to national populations, primarily a representative sample (n=12,366, 47.5% male, 52.5% female) of the Australian population (aged 30-79yrs).

Results: Analysis demonstrated a significantly (p<0.001) reduced classification of obesity in masters basketball players, compared to Australian and other national populations. As expected, male basketball players had, on average, higher BMI than females (p<0.001).

Conclusions: This study indicated that one key index of health, namely obesity, was on average far lower in WMG basketball players compared to a representative sample of population controls. This finding may indicate a lower risk for many diseases such as type 2 diabetes or heart diseases in masters basketball players and the selection of a sport that induces positive health related fitness for both male and female masters athletes.

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