OBESITY STILL OUT OF CONTROL IN THIS COUNTRY
By: Nqobile Maphalala
In the past few years the number of obese women and children has increased immensely. According to The Diet Everyone Talks About, “it is estimated that 1 in 5 South African children is either overweight or obese, with 20% of children under the age of six being overweight.”
Lack of exercise and a poor diet are the main reasons for obesity in children. Schools should also play a vital role in the fitness of children by having scheduled physical education classes. Not every parent is well informed about healthy living and therefore they consume highly processed foods instead of eating healthy. Eating healthy includes eating fruits and vegetables, low fat products, boiling foods and less fats and oils.
Nonhlanhla Gumede, parent of 9-year-old Ayanda who weighs 50 kilograms said, “raising an obese child is the most challenging thing for an unemployed parent as we are advised to give our children healthy food, but I can’t afford to purchase healthy food. The other challenge is she has to wear clothes from the adult department and they are expensive.”
Obesity has a way of affecting children both physically and emotionally. With these challenges it is also likely that obese children will develop illnesses such as pre-diabetics, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleeping and breathing problems as well as stroke. Some children suffer from genetic obesity.
According to Professor David Sanders of the University of Western Cape, “children often become obese due to several biological factors and a lack of vitamins and mineral intake.”
When it comes to women, obesity is a different case. According to a Medical Research Council Study that was done by Lancet, 61% of South African women are either obese or overweight.
Jabulile Mthembu, obese mother of 3, weighs 190kilos.
“I am still able to do my everyday chores, but when it comes to walking a long distance I get really exhausted. Being obese has led to me having high blood pressure and diabetes”.
Mthembu says she has tried losing weight by eating healthy boiled food as advised by the doctors and noticed that she was losing a weight, but later on was pressured by her family, who were against it. To decrease the percentage of obese people in this country I think the realistic solution is to live a healthy lifestyle and be more alert about the dangers of being obese.