The obesity rate among South Africans is alarming and needs to be urgently addressed through interventions on changing the population’s mindset on health issues. This was the sentiment of Dr Riekie Smit, an aesthetic medicine practitioner of Pretoria, with a special interest in weight management. She commented on the results of a recent global health survey.
The Indigo Wellness Index, for which 191 countries were surveyed according to 10 health measures, ranked South Africa as the unhealthiest country in the world. These measures included healthy life expectancy, blood pressure, blood glucose (diabetes risk), obesity, depression, happiness, alcohol use, tobacco use, inactivity (too little exercise), and government spending on healthcare.
‘South Africans can be very lazy and expect their doctor or a tablet to fix their health problems. Changing lifestyle, diet and habits are not viewed by our population as the first step to cure diseases.’
It's a vicious cycle as bad lifestyle increases the burden on the healthcare system. South Africa wants to introduce a National Health Insurance scheme but I'm wondering if the lifestyle issue should not be tackled first as a matter of urgency? In the mind of most patients, there is no connection between a disease/condition and their lifestyle at all. I still see people scooping 4 or 5 spoons of sugar into their coffee and I'm nearly sick at the sight of it, or office celebrations that only include a massive cake or doughnuts. A healthy lifestyle needs to include both a healthier diet and moderate exercise - it cannot just be the one or the other.
This latest news comes hot on the heels of the 2nd worst air pollution in one of South Africa's Provinces in the World. It's just not good for people so hopefully, the cause of both issues can be addressed and not just have a band-aid stuck on the symptoms.
#diet South Africans are the world’s unhealthiest - Zululand Observer
A change to healthy lifestyles would make a vast improvement on our life expectancy