Eric Hinesley: Bigger, not necessarily healthier

October 14, 2013 

Regarding the Oct. 13 news story “Supersized”: When I was in high school at Sanford in the 1960s, the biggest football players were 240 to 250 pounds and always played tackle. It was rare to see any teenager over 250 pounds. People weighing more than 200 pounds were considered large and usually played on the line.

Steve Jones, an All-America tailback at Sanford (an outstanding linebacker as well) and later an All-ACC tailback at Duke, was about 190 pounds in high school. When I arrived at NCSU in 1967, two-time All-America tackle Dennis Byrd weighed about 250 pounds, and Ron Carpenter, an All-ACC offensive tackle from Thomasville, was of similar size. Today, when Division I offensive lines average well over 300 pounds, those guys probably would not make the team.

For many years, I have watched high school kids get bigger and bigger, and asked myself, “Why?” Is it poor diet, including fast food? Too much food? Growth hormones? Better training? Supplements?

Whatever the reason, becoming overweight at an early age can only lead to serious health problems down the road. Can this disturbing trend be changed? Prospects for change seem unlikely as long as the pressures and incentives to win and succeed do not change.

Eric Hinesley

Raleigh

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