DEXA or BMI: clinical considerations for evaluating obesity in collegiate division I-A American football athletes. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and %body fat (%Fat) in collegiate football athletes (FBA) compared with age-matched/gender-matched general population volunteers (comparison group, CG) and compare body composition and overweight/obese frequencies by BMI between FBA and CG. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. SETTING: Two Division I-A (D-IA) universities in Texas. Integrative Health Technologies (San Antonio, Texas) laboratory. PARTICIPANTS: Football athletes (n = 156, 20.0 1.3 years, 185.6 6.5cm, 103.3 20.4 kg). Comparison group (n = 260, 21.5 2.7 years, 179.0 7.6 cm, 86.3 20.9 kg). STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Body mass index and bone densitrometry (DEXA) body composition were assessed. Regression was used to predict %Fat from BMI in CG and FBA. To compare %Fat, fat mass (FM), fat-free mass (FFM), and weight (WT) between CG, FBA, linemen, and non-linemen, 1 4 analysis of variance was used. Chi-square analysis was used to compare the frequency of BMI 25 between groups. RESULTS: Body mass index differently predicted %Fat for CG (r = 0.643, SE = 6.258) and FBA (r =0.769, SE = 4.416). Body mass index cutoffs for overweight/obese corresponded to the following %Fat in each group [BMI 25 = 19.9% (CG) and 11.1% (FBA); BMI 30 = 27.3% (CG) and 20.2% (FBA)]. Football athletes had significantly higher WT, BMI, FFM, and frequency of BMI 25 with lower %Fat and FM than CG ( < 0.05). Linemen had the highest WT, BMI, FFM, %Fat, and frequency of BMI 25. CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between BMI and %Fat differed between CG and FBA. Using current BMI thresholds for obesity in FBA may result in misleading inferences about health risk.

published proceedings

  • Clin J Sport Med

altmetric score

  • 2.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Lambert, B. S., Oliver, J. M., Katts, G. R., Green, J. S., Martin, S. E., & Crouse, S. F.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Lambert, Brad S||Oliver, Jonathan M||Katts, Gilbert R||Green, John S||Martin, Steven E||Crouse, Stephen F

publication date

  • September 2012