BUSINESS NEWS - Obesity can increase healthcare costs by as much as R4 400 per person per year, data from Discovery shows, but despite the direct correlation between weight status and health outcomes, obesity in South Africa is rising faster than the global average.
The local prevalence of obesity in women has risen by 14 percentage points between 1980 and 2015.
Speaking at the release of the Vitality ObeCity Index 2017, Dr Craig Nossel, head of Vitality Wellness, said while communicable diseases historically played a very significant role in South Africa, the country was experiencing a shift.
Lifestyle diseases were increasingly having a more meaningful impact on South Africa’s healthcare system and the burden of disease.
Although the direct healthcare cost of obesity is often highlighted, there were also indirect costs to consider.
The economic impact of obesity in South Africa was estimated to be roughly R700 billion per annum.
Approximately 30% of the global population – more than 2.1 billion people – are overweight or obese.
If the growth rate continues at its current rate, almost half the world’s adult population will fall into this category by 2030.
“I don’t think anyone will disagree that we really do have a big fat problem.”