06 Nov The Big Fat Problem
Ladies, we have a serious problem. South Africans are getting fatter every year, in particular women. This is according to a study conducted by Health Insurance company, Discovery’s Vitality program of their Vitality members living in six cities across South Africa. There was some good news in their ‘Vitality ObeCity Index 2017′ report, there was also some deeply concerning stats as well regarding the high levels of obesity across South Africa – with figures highest among women.
The increase in the number of obese South Africans means that more people are at increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and premature death. According to their findings, I was very concerned to hear that South Africans’ eating habits are getting worse, for example, statistics show that South Africans spend more money on beer than on vegetables and fruit combined. We are bypassing whole, fresh food in favour of energy-dense processed food and sugary drinks. Making matters that much worse is that South Africans are in general exercising less too.
We’re too salty
South Africans in general consume insufficient portions of vegetables and fruit and too much sugar and salt. According to the ObeCity study, Johannesburg is consuming the most salt with Cape Town second and then Bloemfontein, with the least amount of salt being consumed by Durban.
Bloemfontein seems to have the sweetest tooth consuming the most sugar followed by Cape Town and then Johannesburg. Durban again consuming the least amount of sugar.
It’s worse for women
There are 2.1 billion people (nearly 30% of the global population) who are overweight or obese. In South Africa, obesity is increasing faster than the global average. In general obesity was found to be more prevalent in women than in men in all age groups. In sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, the highest prevalence of obesity was recorded in South African women at 42%.
What can we do differently
Ladies, we need to start making smarter choices when it comes to what we eat and how often we move our bodies. I sound like a broken record but it really doesn’t matter what you do for exercise, as long as you are challenging yourself physically at least 2-3 times a week. Coupled with that is developing a healthy relationship with food, we have GOT to STOP DIETING and rather adopting healthier habits like, choosing to drink more water over fizzy drinks, eating more whole fresh food rather than processed, sugar laden food. I know we can all do this in some shape or form if we commit to it. I sound like I am preaching but I want to drive this point home – women more often than not determine the eating habits of a household, because mostly do the grocery shopping and the cooking so we can play a pivotal role in what our families, partners and ourselves eat.
So ladies, lets break the cycle and commit to changing this statistic. Let’s make small changes everyday that can blossom into lifelong healthy living.
Happy, Healthy, Fabulous
Photography: Hemisha Bhana
All statistics and data quoted are from The Vitality ObeCity Index 2017