At around a 30% obesity rate, Mongolia is comparatively a lot “fatter” than East and Southeast Asian cultures. There are 2 main reasons why Mongolians generally tend to be bulkier than other Asians.

1. Bulk and weight do not have as much of a stigma as East Asian countries. While people are encouraged to be healthier and in shape, Mongolian society does not necessarily shun fat people, nor do people care much if people are fat. It’s culturally accepted as being an adult or a family man. Usually, when they get married men put on more weight, and there is a saying within Mongolia that someone has “become a father”, meaning they’ve gotten fatter and look mature.

2. Mongolian diet consists of calorie-dense foods with lots of animals fats from mutton, goat, and beef. In addition, milk and dairy are a big part of the Mongolian diet. So the staple foods and dishes that Mongolians usually eat are hardy and pack a lot of calories.

However, this does not mean that every Mongolian you encounter is going to be fat or burly. There are still plenty of skinny Mongolians that you will find out in the countryside and within urban cities. The wrestlers you see on TV and documentaries do not necessarily represent the whole of the Mongolian population.