Maverick Citizen

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Here’s the skinny – Cape Town is our slimmest city, Bloem the couch potatoes, according to Discovery

Here’s the skinny – Cape Town is our slimmest city, Bloem the couch potatoes, according to Discovery

The Discovery Vitality ObeCity Index has named Gqeberha the fattest city in the country, but it beats the Mother City in the fitness stakes. Johannesburg residents are the most active.

Cape Town came out tops, and Gqeberha was outed as South Africa’s fattest city in the Discovery Vitality ObeCity Index, which was published last week.

Cape Town had the largest percentage of people within a healthy weight range – 21% higher than those in Gqeberha, according to the index. Residents of Durban, Pretoria and Bloemfontein had healthier weights than those in Gqeberha.

But Gqeberha beat Cape Town in the fitness stakes and was rated second as South Africa’s most active city in the ObeCity Index, behind Johannesburg. Bloemfontein was rated as the least-active city.

The ObeCity Index is compiled using data from Vitality members. Vitality is an incentive programme to promote healthy living among Discovery members.

Discovery Vitality also found:

  • Members bought 1.4 million English cucumbers, 988,308 avocados and 978,739 tins of tuna;
  • The unhealthy food list was topped by soft drinks, baked goods and chocolate;
  • Members were eating fewer than three servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and were consuming fruit and drinks that contain up to 24 teaspoons of sugar daily;
  • The most popular workouts were heart-rate workouts such as running followed by the gym (19.8 million gym visits by Vitality members) and 60.1 million step workouts.

Obesity was one of the most relevant threats to good health globally, said Vitality CEO Dinesh Govender.

Read in Daily Maverick:More than half of the world will be overweight or obese by 2035 – report

“When we consider a problem like ­obesity, we first look at the data and insights and then spend a lot of time working towards solving for improved outcomes.

“This is the third iteration of our ObeCity index in the past decade or so. It presents the latest insights on weight status, food purchasing behaviours, and exercise behaviours of our members and ranks the healthiest to least-healthy cities by weight. Through it, we aim to educate, empower and encourage people to take action so that we can begin to build a healthier nation.”

Dr Mosima Mabunda, the head of wellness at Discovery Vitality, said there were several factors to consider regarding unhealthy weight.

These include easy access to energy-dense meals, huge portion sizes, misleading food packaging, an increase in the cost of living, and fewer opportunities for physical activity because of safety concerns.

Read in Daily Maverick:Big food brands struggling to kick junk addiction, survey finds

She said the rolling blackouts had a great impact on people’s journey to a healthy lifestyle as the power was often off when they had to cook.

The ObeCity Index also rated the top five reasons that Vitality members were dieting and exercising.

The number-one reason was for better health followed by: to feel better, to look better, to improve mental health and to improve Vitality status. DM168

Estelle Ellis is a Maverick Citizen reporter.

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.

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