GSK report – a staggering 72% of Cape Tonians are overweight!

by Heloise Avenant, Blueprint Health, South Africa

The recent report done by Glaxo SmithKline went somewhat under the radar – maybe we South Africans are in denial about the impact of our lifestyles on our health. We have always had lots to say about the Americans being so overweight – we even were able to diagnose the source of this as watching too much TV and stopping by MacDonald’s all too often. A report by Brookings Institution researchers found that medical costs for obese adults amounts to $147-billion more than for those with healthy weight in the US. Now it seems that the obesity epidemic is much closer to home than we thought.

Statistics from the report include that 61% of our population is overweight. Of those, only 34% consider themselves to be overweight and 78% regard themselves as healthy – this while they too think that 74% of (other) South Africans are overweight!! A case of self-deceit?

To those in the genetic industry as well as those emergency units tending to heart attack victims, this news confirms our observations over the last decade or so. Heart attack victims are becoming younger, with the severity of disease more widespread. Digging into the causes of this, we have found some serious food for thought – inheriting “thrifty” genes, meaning that gene which helped our ancestors survive famine, is as active as back then. Now with the abundance of (fast) food, that gene kicks in and stores every ounce of fat – just in case.

For too long the emphasis in South Africa and Africa has been only on infective diseases (like HIV) with chronic lifestyle diseases not nearly getting the attention it deserves. It might come as a surprise to many that heart attacks, stroke and HIV together were responsible for 76% of all deaths in South Africa in 2005 – our most recent year of statistics.

Categories:   Medical Tourism South Africa, Weight Loss Programs


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