Is bigger really better? Obesity among high school football players, player position, and team success.


OBJECTIVE: American football is one of the most common high school sports in the United States. We examine obesity among high school football players, and variations based on positions, team division, and team success. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We used 2 data sets from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (n = 2026) and MaxPreps (n = 6417). We examined body mass index, calculated using coach-reported height and weight, by player position, division, and success based on win-loss percentage. RESULTS: Most players (62%) were skill players, with 35% linemen and 3% punters/kickers. Most skill players (62%) were healthy weight and 4% obese or morbidly obese. In contrast, only 8% of linemen were healthy weight, with 21% morbidly obese. Team success was correlated with size only for skill players. CONCLUSIONS: Obesity is a significant problem for high school football players. Pediatricians should consider the context of football playing in assessing long-term health risks for these young men.





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Publication Info

Skinner, Asheley Cockrell, Stephanie E Hasty, Robert W Turner, Mark Dreibelbis and Jacob A Lohr (2013). Is bigger really better? Obesity among high school football players, player position, and team success. Clin Pediatr (Phila), 52(10). pp. 922–928. 10.1177/0009922813492880 Retrieved from

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Asheley Cockrell Skinner

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Areas of expertise: Implementation Science, Health Services Research, Child Obesity, Pediatric Population Health, Opioids

Asheley Cockrell Skinner, PhD, is a health services researcher whose work addresses a variety of population health issues, particularly implementation of programs to improve the health of vulnerable populations. She is currently a Professor in Population Health Sciences at Duke University. She received her PhD in 2007 in Health Policy and Administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  A nationally-known expert in childhood obesity, her work uses a data-driven approach to understand pediatric obesity and improve implementation of evidence-based treatment. She applies this implementation science approach to other populations, including those with opioid use disorder and people who use drugs. In addition to her many roles in research, she also currently serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for Population Health Sciences, directs multiple training programs, and actively mentors undergraduate and graduate students, fellows, and junior faculty.

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