Obesity prevalence for athletes participating in soccer at the World Masters Games

Joe Walsh*, Mike Climstein, Stephen Burke, Jyrki Kettunen, Ian Timothy Heazlewood, Mark DeBeliso, Kent Adams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: 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 older ages may further understanding of the nexus between aging, physical activity and obesity. Research question: To investigate body mass index (BMI) within the WMG competitors in context with national populations and health guidelines. To test the hypotheses 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. Type of study: Cross-sectional comparative study. Methods: 592 (44.3% male, 55.7% female) WMG soccer players aged 29-66yrs (mean 47.6, SD ± 6.9) were investigated via an online survey and compared to national populations, primarily a representative sample (n=9,501) of the Australian population (aged 30-65yrs). Results: Analysis demonstrated a significantly (p<0.001) reduced classification of obesity compared to Australian and other national populations. The investigation revealed, amongst other findings, that male soccer players had 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 soccer players compared to a representative sample of population controls. This finding may indicate a lower risk for diseases, such as type 2 diabetes or heart diseases, in masters soccer players.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
JournalInternational SportMed Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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