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Article Title

DIVISION 1 FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND METABOLIC SYNDROME RISK FACTORS: A THREE YEAR OBSERVATIONAL STUDY

Abstract

A. Vahk1, W.E.S. Repovich, FACSM1, G.J. Babcock1, J. Peterson, FACSM2 1

Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA; 2Linfield College, McMinnville, OR

Professional football players, especially linemen are at increased risk for early Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) leading to cardiovascular disease and death. There are no longitudinal studies examining if MetS risk factors are present during college and if the risk factors change over time. PURPOSE: The purpose of this longitudinal study was to follow MetS risk factors in Division 1-FCS players over three years. MetS is defined by the NCEPT ATP III standards. METHODS: Players were tested in the fall prior to the start of each season. Of the 39 players tested the first fall, eight players completed all assessments every year of the study. Testing included waist circumference (WC), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), fasting blood glucose (BG), high density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides (TG). Descriptive statistics and comparisons were analyzed. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare the means of each dependent variable across the 3 years. A Bonferroni correction was used to adjust for multiple comparisons. RESULTS: One participant met the criteria for MetS during all three years with the same risk factors each year, low HDL, elevated TG and WC. Another participant met the MetS criteria during the second year (low HDL, elevated TG and WC), but not during the first and third year. Both players were offensive linemen. There was no significant difference in SBP, DBP, BG, or HDL across the three years. There was a significant difference in TG over time (F [1.122, 7.852] = 6.355, p = .034). Pairwise comparisons indicated a significant difference in TG between year one-two, one-three, and two-three (p = .001, p = .001, p = .05; respectively). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that nonskilled football positions have a higher incidence of MetS risk factors. Additionally, TG varied across the three years, indicating that nutrition may be a primary influencing factor as players maintain fitness training during the off season. A limitation of this study was the small sample size based on players completing testing all three years. Pre-season evaluation for early detection of MetS with follow up for early intervention is recommended. Further research should explore the off-season nutrition of collegiate football players.

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