Bulking Up on Heart Disease

New research claims that athletes who “bulk up” increase their chances of developing heart disease. Joene Hendry of Reuters reports:
"Our work demonstrates a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, an established cardiovascular risk factor, among retired National Football League (NFL) linemen," said Dr. Marc A. Miller, of Mount Sinai Medical Center, in New York. Football linemen are position players commonly of large body size.

A clustering of heart disease and diabetes risk factors including high blood pressure, low levels of 'good' cholesterol, high levels of blood lipids (fats), and elevated blood sugar and body weight make up the metabolic syndrome.

When Miller and colleagues compared metabolic syndrome rates among 510 retired NFL players, they found that nearly 60 percent of linemen had metabolic syndrome, compared with 30 percent of those playing other positions.

Moreover, greater than 85 percent of the linemen were obese, as opposed to half of the non-linemen, the researchers report in The American Journal of Cardiology.
We’ve seen this before:
Personally, I think all professional sports should discourage this kind of training. Clearly, bigger is NOT better.
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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Steve - May 27, 2008 2:10 PM

I wonder how much of the harm is due to poor food choices to fuel the long workouts, rather than the strength training or the resultant increase in muscle. Bodybuilders are pretty unrelentingly macho, and tend to believe that several hundred grams of protein a day is needed. I have noticed that more recent sport nutrition books, while still suggesting quite a bit of protein (1.7 grams per kilo of body weight), now suggest much more complex carbs. At least they are differentiating between the energy needed to fuel the workout and the nutrients needed for muscle growth.

Gerry Pugliese - May 27, 2008 2:32 PM

Hey Steve-

Dr. Fuhrman would know better than me, but I've got to think its a combination of things. Bad food clogging up the arteries and a huge body that needs blood.

Thats my guess.


Elijah - June 18, 2008 4:55 PM


Not natural! Not normal! Reminds me of a cartoon superhero!

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