n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Prevalence of obesity and associated factors in South Africans 50 years and older and lifestyle

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


This study aimed to determine the prevalence of obesity, overweight, central obesity and their associated factors in older South Africans who participated in the Study of Global Ageing and Adults Health (SAGE) in 2008. In a national population-based survey, height, weight, and waist and hip circumference were measured. Body mass index (BMI) was used as an indicator of obesity, and the waist/hip ratio (WHR) was used as an indicator of central obesity. Participants included 2202 women and 1638 men (total n=3840) with respective mean ages of 63.1 ± 10.0 and 62.2 ± 9.3 years aged 50 years or older in South Africa. Among men 66.7% were overweight or obese (&gt; or =25 kg/m2) and 56.0% had abdominal obesity (WHR >0.90), whereas 76.7% of women were overweight or obese and 70.4% had abdominal obesity (WHR >0.85). Underweight (BMI <18.5 kg/m2) was found in 4.2% of men and 2.6% of women. The overall prevalence rates of overweight and obesity were 27.2% and 45.1%, respectively. The overall prevalence rate of abdominal obesity was 64.1%. In multivariable regression analysis, female gender (OR=0.58, 0.47-0.72), low physical activity (OR=1.96, 1.39-2.76), arthritis (OR=1.73, 1.24-2.43) and hypertension (OR=1.41, 1.04-1.92) was associated with obesity based on BMI. Overnutrition is prevalent among older South Africans, particularly women. Determinants of overnutrition include female gender, low physical activity and chronic conditions.

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