South Africa's obesity problem

South Africa’s obesity problem. Image: Pixabay

Shock fact: South Africans an obese nation

Data from a recent survey shows that South Africans are becoming too overweight, and are not considering how this impacts their health.

South Africa's obesity problem

South Africa’s obesity problem. Image: Pixabay

South Africans are following in the footsteps of other countries where obesity has been a major issue for a long time.

This is not good news for the nation which is already under pressure from a number of daily challenges such as power and water outages and increasing crime levels.

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A survey conducted by the SA Medical Research Council found that 61% of the South African population is overweight, obese or morbidly obese.

The research showed that 31% of men and 68% of women in South Africa are obese.

This is no surprise considering the current living conditions where it is difficult to prepare healthy meals every day.


According to the data, 70% of all South African women over the age of 35 were overweight or obese.

The survey found 33% of black women exposed to the risk of obesity; with 25% of coloured, white and Asian women also showing the risk of obesity.

The study found 18% of white men (over the age of 35) to be obese, followed by 9% of Asian, 8% of coloured, and 6% of black men.


The issue of obesity is often swept under the rug, being viewed as an image problem instead of a health issue.

“People don’t understand it; they see it as more of an aesthetic problem than a health problem.” According to senior specialist for the Medical Research Council of South Africa, Julia Goedecke, per Action-ObesityAfrica.

Being overweight or obese not only affects one’s self-esteem but also leads to heart disease and possibly premature death.


According to Action-ObesityAfrica an estimated 2.8 million people die annually as a result of being overweight or obese.

Obesity-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are on the rise.

It is time for South Africans to recognise the health risks posed by obesity.  The condition causes poor health and can ultimately lead to death.

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