CBS Reality: Bad eating habits making South Africans obese

CBS RealityA report published in medical journal The Lancet, indicating that South Africa has the highest percentage of people who are obese in sub-Saharan Africa, is concerning because obesity is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, certain forms of cancer and diabetes. This phenomena is examined in brand new CBS Reality series Half Ton Hospital.

The biggest contributors to this epidemic are unhealthy eating and a lack of exercise. Many people, including children, spend a large part of the day sitting passively in front of the TV or a computer. People would rather spend hours on their cell phones than take a 30-minute walk.

The study indicates that the proportion of women who were overweight or obese in SA was 69.3% in 2013, with the men at 38.8%. Overweight is defined as having a body mass (BMI) of more than 25, while someone with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

Obesity puts one at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoarthritis. It also increases the risk of cardio-respiratory related death. The current rise in cardiovascular deaths is due to the high rates of hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2- diabetes and sleep apnea.

It is important to watch what one eats. With an unlimited and convenient supply of fast foods, it has become easier for people to adopt bad eating habits. Instead of taking the time to cook with fresh vegetables, people ingest food that is rich in fat, simple carbohydrates and energy.

Certain cooking oils, carbohydrates, cool drinks and processed foods are high in the bad kinds of sugars and fats. Processed foods are more energy-dense: they do not contain water and fibre but added fat, salt and sugar, which makes them both less filling and more fattening.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables has long-term health benefits. They provide essential vitamins and minerals, fibre and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. The fight against obesity begins with healthier eating habits – just a few simple changes on your plate are all it takes. Add another change: take that daily walk.

People should adopt a new slogan: eat better, exercise more, look better, be healthier.

For more insight on ways to deal with obesity catch the reality show Half Ton Hospital on CBS Reality (DStv channel 132), on Saturdays and Sundays at 13:00 and 20:00. Watch as the Brookhaven Hospital in New York tries to save the lives of the world’s fattest people. Its methods are simple but with a controversial strict regime of diet and exercise.

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