n Cardiovascular Journal of Africa - Socio-cultural, environmental and behavioural determinants of obesity in black South African women : review articles




South Africa (SA) is undergoing a rapid epidemiological transition and has the highest prevalence of obesity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with black women being the most affected (obesity prevalence 31.8%). Although genetic factors are important, socio-cultural, environmental and behavioural factors, as well as the influence of socio-economic status, more likely explain the high prevalence of obesity in black SA women. This review examines these determinants in black SA women, and compares them to their white counterparts, black SA men, and where appropriate, to women from SSA. Specifically this review focuses on environmental factors influencing obesity, the influence of urbanisation, as well as the interaction with socio-cultural and socio-economic factors. In addition, the role of maternal and early life factors and cultural aspects relating to body image are discussed. This information can be used to guide public health interventions aimed at reducing obesity in black SA women.


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