South African Adults at Risk of Overweight and Obesity: an Assessment of the Association of Food Choices and Body Mass Index in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain

  • Mulugeta F. Dinbabo
  • Michael Nguatem Belebema
  • Clement Mensah
Keywords: South Africa, Food, Obesity, Overweight and Poverty


South Africa is experiencing a rapid increase in its urban townships population as well as increase in overweight and obesity, especially amongst adult women. This study investigates on the association of Body Mass Index and food choices in two urban townships – Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain in Cape Town. About 48 individuals from 5 households were interviewed and anthropometric data drawn from the population. Principal component analysis was conducted on food choices using a 4-hour recall. Average Dietary Diversity Score (DDS) was .88 which was less than the South African average. Seven food patterns were identied and contribute 8% of the variations. The results show that about % of adults’ sampled were overweight and obese at BMI> 5kg/m . DDS was signicantly low for most individuals (p=.) despite % of food prepared at home. The study concludes that inconsistent and distorted dietary patterns and socioeconomic status aected access to food choices that is evidence of balanced diet, and thereby creating an avenue for the risk of overweight and obesity. Consumer awareness programmes that focus on reducing the risk of obesity needs to be put in place in poor communities to address the problem and risk of poor food choice and obesity.

Keywords: South Africa, Food, Obesity, Overweight and Poverty


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0855-6768