More than scales and tape measures needed to address obesity in South Africa

R. Ramlal, R. D. Govender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Obesity is an emerging public health problem worldwide increasing from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion by 2013. A study was done on a sample of 100 obese and overweight patients with a body mass index (BMI) above 25 kg/m2. The patients were asked to complete a questionnaire, which included socio-demographic data and perceptions regarding their weight. The patients were between the ages of 18 and 76 years old with 82% being female patients. The mean BMI for males was 41.7 kg/m2 (SD = 7.38112) and females 39.9 kg/m2 (SD = 7.90504). The results of this study confirm that 17% of overweight and obese patients saw themselves as having a normal weight and 97% felt that they were not unattractive. of the sample, 96% affirmed that being obese was a health risk. The commonest reason cited for their obesity is by choice (70%). Although obese patients knew that obesity is a health risk, they have a positive image of obesity. The dramatic trend towards increasing obesity suggest that healthcare providers need to understand how people from different cultures view obesity. This will help them to promote key messages about the health risks associated with excess weight in a culturally sensitive way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-152
Number of pages5
JournalSouth African Family Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Perceptions
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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