High Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity among the Wrestlers of a Folk Wrestling Style in India

Naga wrestling is an indigenous wrestling style played by the menfolk of Tenyimi tribes of Nagaland and Manipur. The present study aims to find the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Naga wrestlers, and examine the influence of height, weight, and BMI on performance. For this study, we have utilized the data of Nagaland Wrestling Association (NWA) on age, height, weight, and positions achieved from 2017 to 2020. A total of 170 wrestlers aged between 18-37 years were included in the present study. The wrestlers were divided into two categories based on age: younger wrestlers (18-25 years) and older wrestlers (26-37 years). BMI was classified using Asian cut-off points given by WHO. The mean height, weight, and BMI of Naga wrestlers are 172.74 cm, 79.51 kg, and 26.57 kg/m2, respectively. Baring height, significant variation in weight (p<0.001), and BMI (p<0.001) was observed between younger wrestlers and older wrestlers. The present study showed a high prevalence of overweight (51.8%) and obesity (34.1%) among the wrestlers. The prevalence of overweight and obesity between younger and older wrestlers was also highly significant (p<0.001). Thus, there is a positive association between BMI and its categories with advancing age. Additionally, taller and heavier wrestlers were more successful in achieving positions at wrestling tournaments. The absence of weight category in this wrestling style could be the causal factor for high incidences of overweight and obesity among the wrestlers.