oa Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes in South Africa - Bariatric surgery, addictive-like eating behaviour and obesity : editorial

Volume 20, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1608-9677
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1009



The obesity epidemic in South Africa is completely out of hand. The prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) in women increased from 34% in 19951 to 39% in 2013 while an additional 25% of women were overweight (BMI 25-29.9 kg/m2). The corresponding rates for obesity and overweight among men were 11% and 20%2. Adolescents between the ages of 15 and 17 years were included in these data. Of all women in sub-Saharan Africa, South African women have the highest prevalence of obesity. The contribution of obesity to the burden of disease in South Africa is staggering. In 2000, 87% of type 2 diabetes, 68% of hypertensive disease, 61% of endometrial cancer, 45% of ischaemic stroke and 38% of ischaemic heart disease were attributed to excess body weight. In the same year 7% of all deaths in South Africa was attributed to obesity-related comorbidities. 4 Gestational diabetes with its foetal complications are also strongly and positively linked to overweight and obesity. In this edition of the Journal (p 9-14) Hall et al reports that overweight or obesity was present at booking in 95% of women who went on to develop gestational diabetes. It is a sobering thought that the unbridled increase in the prevalence of obesity in the US may soon counteract the steady rise in life expectancy observed over the last two centuries.

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