South African obesity rate on the rise

Approximately 61 % of South Africans are overweight or obese, making us the highest rated obese country in Sub-Saharan Africa according to Medical Research Council 2013 study.

Dr Ian Westmore, Psychiatry Management Group board member, says that South Africans are getting more over weight and the obesity rate is increasing.

According to Westmore, there are many contributing factors to obesity, not just excess caloric intake. These include mental factors such as traumatic experiences, genetics or certain medications. Other issues like perceptions of weight and stigma also play a role in this.

There have been studies that have found this bidirectional exist between depression and obesity. If you are depressed, you're at higher risk of being overweight and obese. But the other way round as well. If you are overweight and obese, there is a higher risk of depression.

Dr Ian Westmore, Psychiatry Management Group Board Member

Anxiety, post traumatic stress, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are other mental factors that may lead to emotional eating and thus weight gain, Westmore adds.

Listen to the full interview below:

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