Comparison of obesity prevalence across 28 world masters games sports

Joe Walsh, Ian Timothy Heazlewood, Mark Debeliso, Mike Climstein

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    Recognised by the International Olympic Committee, the WMG is the largest international sporting competition in terms of participant numbers. A total of 6,071 WMG athletes (51.9% male, 48.1% female) from 28 sports, aged from 25 to 91 years (mean 51.5, SD±9.7), completed a survey instrument indicating heights and weights required to calculate BMI. It was hypothesized that there would be significant differences in prevalence of obesity across the 28 sports due to their different physiological and anthropometric requirements. Statistically significant differences in BMI between different sports were identified. The highest percentages of obesity were found in archery (39.3% obese, p<0.001), shooting (37.84% obese, p<0.001), rugby union (34.72% obese, p<0.001) softball (32.50% obese, p<0.001) and baseball (25.56% obese, p<0.001). Athletics, cycling, canoeing/ kayaking, rowing, orienteering, soccer, sailing, and swimming all demonstrated significantly lower obesity. These findings may indicate a higher risk for many diseases such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease in masters sports such as archery, baseball, hockey, rugby union, shooting, softball, water polo and weightlifting. It was deemed that coaches of those masters sports demonstrating increased obesity prevalence should consider additional weight management strategies in their training regimes, particularly if there is no sporting benefit from increased BMI.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)30-36
    Number of pages7
    JournalSport Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018


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