The Country’s Healthiest City is…
When it comes to the healthiest city in South Africa, Cape Town boasts the highest number of people who are at a healthy weight and purchase the most vegetables and fruit when compared with country’s other major cities. But don’t worry, we didn’t come in too far behind Cape Town (Johannesburg came in second with 52%). This is according to the Discovery Vitality ObeCity Index 2017, which presents the latest insights and statistics on the weight status (measured by Body Mass Index and waist circumference) and food-purchasing behaviour of nearly half a million Vitality members in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
The Ugly Truth – We Have A Big, Fat Problem
The impact of obesity on individual health, globally, is significant. The number of people who die each year as a result of being overweight or obese is now higher than the number of worldwide deaths linked to being underweight. And in addition to health concerns, obesity has an impact on the global economy. The economic impact of obesity in South Africa is estimated to be R701 billion each year.
One of the most important factors contributing to the obesity epidemic are changes in dietary patterns. This includes the increased consumption of sugar, salt, fat and animal products. Ultra-processed food contains high percentages of most of these products. In South Africa, sales of ready-made meals, snack bars and instant noodles increased by 40% between 2005 and 2010. Fast food consumption continues to increase, which is ultimately negatively impacting our weight.
Time To Make A Change
After analysing this report, the result points to the fact that individuals need to make a change to their lifestyles. They can do this by reducing the purchase of unhealthy foods and convenience meals along with processed meats, sugary drinks and salty snacks. Changes were linked with the replacement of healthier foods and beverages. These longer-term healthier eating trajectories promise to have even greater effects. As individuals, we need to move more and consciously make healthier food choices.
How Do We Get Started?
Considering we’re not too far behind Cape Town when it comes to the Discovery Vitality ObeCity Index 2017, there are a number of changes that we can incorporate into our lifestyle that will help us reduce our weight problems, and hopefully move us up to number one next year! This is how we can get started on a better and healthier living:
Buy better: When shopping for your weekly/monthly groceries, buy healthier items and kick the fatty, carb-loaded treats. Yes, we know Simba chips, red meat, delicious sauces and baked goods are tasty but in the long run, they cause more harm than good. Fill up your trolley with fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and whole grain items. Your gut will thank you later.
Add a few more steps to your day: Along with a healthier diet, adding a bit more activity to your day will make a significant difference. Instead of taking the lift or escalator, take the stairs. Walk a little more throughout the day. If you have a desk job, stand up and move every hour or so. The trick is to move more than you usually do.
Cook more: Not only will prepping your own meals help you brush up on your cooking skills, but it will also help you think more consciously about what you’re putting into your body. Ordering takeout is convenient, but unfortunately it’s not as nutritious and healthy as cooking at home. But also keep in mind that you need to incorporate healthier cooking methods when prepping your meals, such as swapping out cooking oil with olive oil when doing shallow frying in a pan, or rather opting for grilling instead of deep frying.
For More Information
For more information on the Discovery Vitality ObeCity Index 2017, visit discv.co/VitalityObeCity.