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Black South African Women’s perceptions of obesity in the Msunduzi district of Pietermaritzburg

P Dandala
U Kolanisi
A van Onselen
JM Green


Aims: To establish the black South African women’s perceptions of obesity in rural and urban areas in the Msunduzi District of Pietermaritzburg.

Methodology: The research design adopted was qualitative research methodology, using qualitative techniques, mainly the focus group interviews for data collection. These were complemented by traditional key informants’ perspectives of obesity using rapid rural appraisal approach.

Results: The perceptions of obesity among the black women in SA might be influenced by their traditional and cultural beliefs that regard obesity as a sign of wealth and beauty. Among the focus groups there seemed to be no real word for obesity. Similarly, the traditional perspective did not seem to have any word for obesity.

Conclusion: The black South African women’s perceptions of obesity seemed to be informed by their traditional beliefs of associating obesity with beauty, wealth and good health.


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eISSN: 0378-5254