SAâ€™s obesity crisis: How do South Africans eat?
South Africa has been declared “the third-fattest nation in the worldâ€ with the highest overweight and obesity incidence in sub-Saharan Africa. As a developing country with a high levels of poverty, the obesity rates are baffling.Â A study in the Lancet medical journal shows that increased urbanisation has led to more fast food and a less active lifestyle. At the same time, being overweight is also associated with wealth and success, particularly among the countryâ€™s poor black population.Â RAâ€™EESA PATHER asked Capetonians about their eating habits and lifestyle.
Anray Amansure, 23, drama student, Mitchellâ€™s Plain
I had a banana and yoghurt and a bran muffin for breakfast. I had a salad for lunch, Â and then I had rice cakes and a guava. Oh, and water obviously. I do cardio and weights. For my career itâ€™s important; to have a sustained career you need to look good and be healthy. I also donâ€™t want to have heart problems and high blood. A lot of people think that eating healthy is expensive, but really, itâ€™s not that expensive, itâ€™s just cutting down on certain things. I know some people are overweight because they have health issues that stop them from losing, but sometimes I see overweight people at fast food places and I think, why are you doing this to yourself?
Achmat Jordaan, 31, parking guard, homeless
Iâ€™ve eaten nothing today. Itâ€™s all about money these days, If you have money you can buy stuff that you need. If you donâ€™t have money, you canâ€™t live on. Thatâ€™s how it goes here in Cape Town. If I see someone overweight, I think they must actually take a sport to lose weight. The way you eat is possibly linked to how much money you have, like I said, if you have money you can buy anything you like. I would at least buy a milk and a dry bread to make me full.
Naz Altensteade, 41, grant specialist, Woodstock
Iâ€™ve eaten veggies and some chicken strips. I havenâ€™t had any health issues, I try to eat my veggies every day. I donâ€™t exercise. It worries me a bit for my health, but I just donâ€™t like exercise. The way we eat is connected to the way we live and our social backgrounds. The way we live nowadays, everything is a rush, so people go for takeaway. Itâ€™s the easy way out. They donâ€™t prefer to cook anymore. We see it every day – when you go to the takeaway itâ€™s full at lunch times. Less people bring their own lunch to work; thatâ€™s one of the biggest things.
Vusi Mtshasha, 30, security guard, Philippi
I ate bread and polony with Fanta today. I exercise, I do push-ups and stuff. I have my own equipment at home. I eat vegetables to stay healthy. When I see someone whoâ€™s overweight I start thinking about exercise. I think if you have a lot of money you can buy more food, but being big doesn’t make you rich.
Raine Firbain, 28, administrator, Strand
Basically, I ate healthy today. I ate All Bran Flakes for breakfast, then I had fruit as snacks in between, and then for lunch I just had some rye crackers with cream cheese. I just had water and coffee to drink. I exercise, I just came back from the gym now. I do weight training and cardio. I donâ€™t have health concerns because I stay quite healthy. I think food in South Africa is linked to social status, because thatâ€™s what we do for fun: eat out. Some people are overweight because of their health, maybe. Itâ€™s not always eating habits. It differs from person to person. I eat fast foods, I have it now and then, like weekends, but I wonâ€™t have it all the time.