Health issues and preventive strategies for heavy athletes

Satomi Oshima*, Motoko Taguchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Some athletes are required to increase their body weight, since it directly influences their performance. Rugby, Judo, American football, Weight lifting, Field throwing, Bodybuilding, and Sumo are sports where heavy athletes are particularly successful. In fact, for the majority of athletes in these sports, their body mass index (BMI) exceeds 25 kg/m2. Unfortunately, since it is difficult to increase body weight as fat-free mass (FFM), accumulation of unintentional body fat is often observed in heavy athletes, especially among non-elite players. In fact, linemen in American football have a high prevalence of metabolic syndrome and/or insulin resistance (Borchers et al. 2009). Overfeeding and the ensuing creation of a positive energy balance are essentialfor increasing body weight. However, overeating increases the risk for developing visceral fat accumulation and becoming insulin resistant if done without an adequate dietary plan. While developing health issues from overfeeding is dependent upon one's genetic complement to some degree, dietary composition and food choices for overfeeding significantly influence the magnitude of visceral fat accumulation as well as the extent of plasma insulin response. Screening and monitoring which involve the periodic measure of body composition as well as biochemical assessments may help to prevent cardiometabolic risks for heavy athletes. These precautions will help ensure a sound physicalcondition for their playing days and also for their health during the remainder of their lives (Haskins et al. 2011).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSports Performance
PublisherSpringer Japan
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9784431553151
ISBN (Print)9784431553144
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1


  • Body fat
  • Heavy athlete
  • Insulin resistance
  • Overfeeding
  • Weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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