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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2010

Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007, India
Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007, India


The prevalence of overweight/obesity is increasing worldwide. Although countries like India are typically thought of as having a high prevalence of undernutrition, significant proportions of overweight/obese now co-exist with the undernourished. This study aims to find the prevalence of overweight/obesity, and its association with socioeconomic change, among Tangkhul women in India. The cross-sectional study was carried out among 346 Tangkhul women aged 20–70 years, who were divided into five 10-year age groups. Mean BMI was found to be lowest among the youngest age group, and it increased with age until the age of 59 and then declined. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was found to be 27.1%, as assessed from the Asian cut-off point. Although the prevalence of obesity (2.0%) was low when compared with Indian non-tribal female populations, the prevalence of overweight (25.1%) was not far behind. Overweight and obesity were found to be associated with age, marital status, physical activity level, lifestyle and improvement in socioeconomic status, especially occupation and income. When compared with urban non-tribal Indian females, who have a higher socioeconomic status, the prevalence of overweight/obesity among Tangkhul females is lower, indicating its association with socioeconomic status. Tangkhul Naga is a population where the majority are believed to be thin traditionally owing to the difficult hilly terrain and their physically active lifestyle. With urbanization and economic development, nutritional transition, improved socioeconomic status and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle have been observed, which have contributed to the increasing prevalence of overweight/obesity among Tangkhul Naga women.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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