The Courier-Mail

JT and Billy are obese? Fat chance

- CARLEEN FROST

THEY are among the toughest, strongest men in sport but some of the country’s biggest rugby league superstars are also technicall­y obese.

An analysis of the NRL’s top eight teams reveals a huge majority of the sport’s best performers are tipping the larger end of the scales of the Body Mass Index, while just a handful are in the normal or healthy weight range.

The BMI calculates weight and height and is used to identify obesity in the general population.

Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater and Sam Thaiday are among the dozens whose weight and height measuremen­ts put them in the obese category. But leading sport and exercise physician and former Sports Medicine Australia president Peter Larkins believes it is useless as a tool in elite sport.

“The BMI obviously looks at a certain index of weight to height but we know in athletes their weight is muscle and so their absolute weight on the scale is a significan­t weight,” he said.

A study found that almost a third of those who used the BMI calculator alone were wrongly classified as obese.

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