Over Nutrition (Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases)

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OVER NUTRITION (OBESITY AND NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES)

In the past, overweight people were believed to be the healthiest, more likely to have resistance to diseases and infections (Ebbeling et al, 2002). Some decades ago, the increase in non-communicable diseases associated with overweight and obesity has arguably become a public health problem in developed countries and more recently in under developed countries; with 8 million overweight people living in developed countries and 53 million living in developing countries (WHO, 2012). This essay will try to discuss overweight and obesity in South Africa, the public health challenges and how the country is tackling the issue. Overweight and obesity can be defined as a body mass index (BMI) of an individual greater than or equal to 25kg/m2 and greater or equal to 30 kg/m2 respectively (WHO, 2012). Overweight and obesity has been highlighted to be one of the causes of recent increase in non-communicable diseases, accounting for about 1.4 million people worldwide (Ebbeling et al., 2002). South Africa is a Sub-Sahara African country and has a population of 50,132,817 people. In South Africa, over-nutrition can be said to be high with overweight and obese accounting for 65.4% and 31.3% respectively of the total population (WHO, 2011). About 29% of men and 56% of women have body mass index (BMI >25) for overweight and (BMI>30) for obesity. Despite the country focusing on underweight and infectious diseases, the increase in non-communicable diseases due to over nutrition has created a double burden of disease which increases public health challenges (Kruger et al., 2005). In South Africa, the public health challenges associated with overweight and obesity are increase in non-communicable diseases. And theses non-communicable diseases and their prevalence are 3% for diabetes, 21% for hypertension, 7% for cancer and 16.5% for mental illness (Kruger et al., 2005). However despite this...
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