Are rugby world cup players considered "overweight"?
The average member of an international rugby team’s forward pack weighs 112.56kg. When looking at BMI, this would be considered a health risk. But is this really relevant to sports stars such as rugby players, who are generally bigger people due to the physicality of the game?
The limitations of BMI
BMI it’s not always accurate for everybody. It doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle, so people who have a large muscle mass (including rugby players and professional athletes) will often have a high BMI, even though their body fat is in the healthy range. Plus, a healthy BMI doesn’t always correlate with good health. In fact, research shows that one in three people who have healthy BMIs are relatively unhealthy once other test results, such as blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol are taken into account.
One explanation is that BMI doesn’t reflect where body fat is stored, and it’s possible to have a healthy BMI, while carrying too much fat around your waist, a location that poses more of a health risk than weight carried on your hips and thighs. A 2017 study proved that point, finding that people who carry weight around their middle but have healthy BMIs are at the highest risk of death from any cause, compared to people with higher BMIs who carry the weight elsewhere.
“If I had to choose between making sure my BMI or my waist-to-hip ratio are within the ‘normal’ range, I would go for the latter,” says the University of Sydney’s Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, who co-led the study. “A high waist-to-hip ratio most likely means high amounts of abdominal fat, and we know this comes with quite serious health risks.”