Improving knowledge regarding mortality and its determinants is essential to public health. A better understanding of mortality risk and protective factors can help to extend life and enhance its quality. Mortality research has evolved over centuries of time from casual observations focused on individuals to sophisticated studies of groups conducted by social scientists and epidemiologists. Social and demographic risk factors, including socioeconomic status (SES) and factors that occur early in life, are now routinely studied with an emphasis on reducing health disparities that may be linked to mortality risk.
This study will examine all-cause mortality and its determinants among a cohort of professional basketball and football players. Internal comparisons will be made based on a large cohort of former NBA and NFL players. The potential risk factor variables to be studied include race, body mass index (BMI), US birthplace region, number of career years of professional playing experience and player position. Mortality risk will be compared within and between former players in the two leagues. External comparisons of mortality rates will also be conducted between the two groups of professional athletes and the US male general population.
Mortality comparisons between professional basketball (NBA) and football players (NFL) have never been studied before. There have been several separate prior studies that have compared mortality rates between NBA and NFL players versus the general population. However, this previous research has limitations and is largely outdated. The current study seeks to advance knowledge in this important area and provide direction for future research efforts.
KeywordsMortality and public health Social and demographic risk factors for mortality Health disparities and mortality Mortality comparisons between NBA and NFL players Mortality comparisons between NBA/NFL players and the general population Early life experiences and mortality risk
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