BACKGROUND: Obesity is shown to be a common risk factor for the development of hypertension (HTN). Repetitive bouts of exercise training (endurance and/or strength) has been shown to reduce fat mass along mean arterial pressure (MAP) respectively through the preparatory period of football with a focus on resistive training. PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between body fat percentage and hypertension (HTN) in AA Division I Football athletes during the preparatory period. METHODS: Seventy Division I football players were tested after the pre-season: Age (20.2±1.6yrs), Ht (183.1±10.7cm), mass (BM 103.3kg±21.7kg) and (FFM 84.0±13.6kg), body fat percent (18.9±9.3%), resting heart rate (RHR 67.4 ± 9.5bpm). A stepwise logistic regression model was created to determine if non-blood pressure biometric data collected on the players could predict hypertension status. Players had their height, blood pressure, resting heart rate, and body mass recorded by trained professionals. Height measured using a stadiometer. Normotensive MAP is defined by the 2018 American Heart Association Executive (>90). Prior to taking BP, athletes sat for ~5 min. Blood pressure (BP) along with RHR were measured using an automated sphygmomanometer. Body composition was evaluated using bioelectrical impedance. RESULTS: 35/70 or 50% of the athletes were coded as meeting the AHA diagnostic criteria of hypertension (HT). A significant logistic regression model (χ^2 = 15.67; p < 0.01) existed with BM being the sole significant predictor of hypertensive status. The model explained 27% (Nagelkerke R2 ) of the variance in hypertensive status and correctly classified 75.8% of cases (n =70). The logistic regression equation was Logit(HT) = -5.20 + 0.05(kg). Results indicate that one kilogram increase in BM would increase the likelihood of hypertensive by 5% (95% CI: 2-8%). No other biometric variable predicted hypertensive status in this population. CONCLUSION: Hypertension amongst our sample (50%) exceeded all known frequency reported in the literature (3%). Increased BM may be a risk factor for developing hypertension. Fat mass and fat free mass may not be reliable predictors of cardiovascular disease in Division I AA athletes. Further testing is needed to determine the mechanisms responsible for the prevalence of HTN in our Football athletes.

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