Thursday, March 03, 2005

You'll NEVER believe this one!

This morning, I was looking through the news to see what atrocities our President and Congress have committed in the past 24 hours, and I stumbled on to this article. Talk about shocking news. Lindsey Tanner, author of this astounding piece of journalistic research, is trying to say that obsesity in the NFL is an epidemic! What's next? An article about NBA players suffering from dark skin color?

Lindsey Tanner, AP journalistic dynamo, claims that "56% of NFL players would be considered obese by some medical standards." What she fails to mention is that the most recent statistics from the National Institutes of Health suggest that almost 130 million Americans or 2/3 (~64%) of adults over 20 years old are overweight. Maybe the athletes of the National Football League aren't in such bad shape after all.

The methods of the study cited in the article destroy its credibility. For the study, researchers calculated the number of obese football players by taking the height and weight listed on the NFL team websites and calculated the Body Mass Index (BMI) based on that information. This approach makes two assumptions both of which are incredibly flawed:
1) NFL team's sports information directors are providing accurate information about their players' height and weight.
2) Body Mass Index is an effective way to measure obesity in athletes and other individuals with significantly greater than normal muscle mass.

The practice of exaggerating a player's size is well-documented. Teams often report players as being significantly larger than they really are. An actual scientific study would have actually weighed the players and measured their height to assure accuracy. The study should be disregarded on this basis alone.

As you can see from the National Institutes of Health website on obesity using BMI to calculate obesity, particularly for athletes, can be incredibly misleading:

" Calculating BMI is simple, quick, and inexpensive but it does have limitations. One problem with using BMI as a measurement tool is that very muscular people may fall into the overweight category when they are actually healthy and fit."

In a nutshell, this story was barely worth the time it took me to read it, let alone how long it took me to write this posting, and all of you who are wasting your time reading this. The person that wrote this article is a Medical Writer for the Associated Press. This is a sad example of how the media picks and chooses medical research, and there not even capable of evaluating the difference between good scientific research and what we in the medical profession refer to as "stool".

No comments: