The poor state of SA health

Professor Demetre Labadarios says the general health of the nation is the high burden of disease.

File photo: Weight and health matters. Picture: Wikipedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has released comprehensive data on the state of the nation's health.

The executive director of population health systems and innovation at the HSRC, Professor Demetre Labadarios, spoke to Talk at Nine's John Webb about health issues facing South Africans.

Labadarios said, "We don't seem to be paying attention to health as we should. The fact is when women go shopping the first thing they consider is price and the second thing is the taste. So health considerations aren't highly prioritised."

The professor noted that the general poor state of health of many citizens was the high burden of disease.

"The major findings of the survey were weight issues, bad dieting habits and the risk factors for non-communicable diseases, like diabetes and hypertension."

The survey also found two-thirds of South African women and one third of men are either overweight or obese.

When asked what is considered healthy, Labadarios said all weight was defined as the Body Mass Index, which is the the relation of weight to height.

"The normal range is between 18 and 25; 25 and above is considered overweight, while 30 and above is obese."

Furthermore, the survey evaluated the nutritional status of South Africans, in terms of food security, dietary intake, the consumption of alcohol and waste management.

Thousands of participants contributed to the research. Just over 25,000 participants completed questionnaires, 12,000 completed physical examinations and 8,000 agreed to blood tests.