Overweight athlete: fact or fiction?

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2004 Aug;3(4):198-205. doi: 10.1249/00149619-200408000-00005.


Maintaining appropriate body weight is important for athletic performance. Body mass index (BMI) is commonly used to classify an individual's body weight. However, in the case of athletes, who may have a high body weight due to higher lean body mass, BMI may lead to misclassification of the athlete as overweight or obese. Thus, both BMI and body composition assessment should be conducted before determining if an athlete is overweight or obese. Body weight goals of athletes should be determined for each athlete, based on the requirements of the sport, the athlete's body size and shape, and in consultation with the athlete, coaches, and trainers. Safe weight loss goals should be established on an individual basis. Athletes, coaches, and trainers should work closely with individuals who have training in nutrition (registered dietitians) to set appropriate weight goals and to develop weight management protocols that promote healthy eating.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition
  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Football / physiology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Weight Loss
  • Wrestling / physiology