Cardiovascular disease risk factor profile of male Gaelic Athletic Association sports referees

  • Catherine Noelle O’Riordan
  • Micheál Newell
  • Gerard Flaherty
Original Article



Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in Ireland and worldwide. Male sporting referees registered with the Gaelic Athletic Association (G.A.A.) represent the Irish male population due to the wide range of ages and CVD risk factors. Although G.A.A. referees, a predominately male population, play a pivotal part in the success of the game, there is a paucity of epidemiological evidence relating to their CVD health status.


The purpose of this study was to assess the CVD risk factor profile of male G.A.A. referees in Ireland.


An observational, cross-sectional study design was used to assess the CVD risk factor profile of the participants. A cluster and convenience sample method was used to recruit participants aged ≥ 18 years within the G.A.A. referee community throughout Ireland. CVD risk factor profiles were studied using questionnaires, blood pressure (BP) and anthropometric measurements.


A total of 183 male G.A.A. referees were studied with a mean age of 39 years (± 6, p = 0.000) for inter-county and 47 (± 11) for club referees. Of the total population studied, 49% had pre-hypertension and 60% were overweight.


The findings from this study demonstrate the presence of hypertension and negative lifestyle behaviours within this male population. This justifies the need to implement a policy on the pre-participation screening and risk reduction of CVD for male G.A.A. referees in Ireland. This health promotion intervention would assist in reducing the CVD epidemic within this specific population.


Cardiovascular disease Lifestyle Male sporting referees Prevention Sports cardiology 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Finbarr’s HospitalCorkIreland
  2. 2.National Institute for Preventive CardiologyGalwayIreland
  3. 3.School of MedicineNational University of Ireland GalwayGalwayIreland

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