Obesity - what you need to know
What is obesity?
As defined on Wikipedia obesity is a medical condition where a person accumulates excess body fat to such an extent that it has negative effects on health. Obesity also causes a reduction in life expectancy. Obesity is measured by a person’s body mass index (BMI). A BMI measurement is obtained by dividing your weight in Kilograms by the square your height in Meters. If this exceeds 30 kg per Meter squared you are obeses. If your BMI is in the range of 25 to 30 then you are classified as overweight.
Shocking facts about obesity in South Africa
According to an article in Independent Online up to 70% of South African women and 33% of South African men are either overweight or obese. This is the highest rate in sub-Saharan Africa! This serious health problem is now affecting South African children too with 25% of girls and 20% of boys between the ages of 2 and 14 also suffering from obesity.
In the same article Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, chief executive of the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA explains some of the reasons for this alarming problem:
- We eat and drink too much and don’t get enough exercise
- Being thin can have connotations of Aids or being HIV positive
- There is a cultural belief that being overweight is a sign of affluence
- Increased urbanization has lead people to have an unhealthy diet high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt
- Higher incomes and a faster pace of life have led to more people eating unhealthy fast food.
Ultimately, the onus is on the individual to lose weight. Once an individual decides to lose weight, they need to develop a strategy to reach their goal. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to losing weight, but sustainable weight loss involves making changes to your diet and your physical activity that you can sustain long term.
What are the health effects of obesity?