Friday, August 12, 2011

Super obese professional wrestlers

     The obesity epidemic in the United States is alarming and predicted to only get worse.  Currently 72 million Americans are obese. (1)  It is the second leading cause of preventable death, behind only cigarette smoking. (2)  Body mass index (BMI) is used as a measure of a person's fat.  It is calculated by dividing the weight in kilograms by the height in meters squared (kg/m2).   For a classification of BMI in adults see Table 1.

Table1:  BMI classification.
  • 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 is considered overweight.
  • 30 to 34.9 kg/m2 is considered obese (class I obesity).
  • 35 to 39.9 kg/m2 is considered moderately obese (class II obesity).
  • 40 to 49.9 kg/m2 is considered severely or extremely obese (class III obesity).
  • >50.0 kg/m2 is considered super obese (class IV obesity).

     In general, the higher the BMI is there is an increased rate of death from all causes.  Obesity is associated with a number of serious medical problems (see Table 2).

    Table 2:  Complications of obesity.
    • Coronary artery disease.
    • Congestive heart failure.
    • Deep venous thrombosis.
    • Pulmonary embolism.
    • Osteoarthritis.
    • Obstructive sleep Apnea.
    • Dementia.
    • Cancer of the esophagus, colon, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
    • Hypertension.
    • High cholesterol.
    • Diabetes.

         Obesity is also a problem among professional athletes.  A 2006 study by Scripps Howard News Service concluded that the heaviest National Football League (NFL) athletes are twice as likely to die before the their 50th birthday than their teammates. (3)

    Happy Humphrey vs Haystacks Calhoun
         Professional wrestling has always been about showcasing athletes that can capture the paying public's eye, whether it's hillbillies, farmers, cowboys, or fat men.  Table 3 is a listing of the professional wrestlers who would be classified as super obese based on BMI.  When viewing the list there are several points that need to be kept in mind.  First, professional wrestling has no national data base that keeps biostatistics on wrestlers.  Promoters have been known to exaggerate heights and weights of wrestlers.  Furthermore, a wrestler's weight may have fluctuated throughout a career.  All of these factors can impact the reported BMIs listed.

    Table 3:  Super Obese (BMI > 50 kg/m2) professional wrestlers.

    • Benny McCrary (Benny McGuire) 104.6 kg/m2
    • Billy McCrary (Billy McGuire) 100.4kg/m2
    • William Cobb (Happy Humphery) 98.9 kg/m2
    • Val Puccio 73.9 kg/m2
    • Rodney Anoai (Yokozuna) 73 kg/m2 
    • Gary Fletcher (Man Mountain Mike) 73 kg/m2
    • Martin Ruane (Giant Haystacks/Loch Ness) 70.4 kg/m2
    • Jerry Blackwell 70 kg/m2
    • William Calhoun (Haystacks Calhoun) 69.4 kg/m2
    • Akebono Taro 56.5 kg/m2
    • Nelson Frazier (Mabel/Viscera) 56.3 kg/m2
    • Chris Pallies (King Kong Bundy) 55.7 kg/m2
    • Scott Thompson (Krusher Kong) 54.8 kg/m2
    • Leon White (Vader) 53.4 kg/m2
    • Mike Shaw (Bastein Booger) 52.9 kg/m2
    • Solofa Fatu (Rikishi) 52.9 kg/m2
    • John Tenta (Earthquake) 52.7 kg/m2
    • Mark Henry 51.7 kg/m2 
    • Matt Anoai (Rosey) 50.5 kg/m2



    1. Center for Disease Control
    2. Am J Prev Med. 2010; 38(2): 138.

    The medical resource was used in the preparation of this blog.

    Photographs are for illustrative purposes only.  Wrestling with Death does not claim ownership.

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