In the best interest of the child: Food choices and body mass index of adult and children living in urban peripheral townships in Cape Town
Belebema, Michael Ngautem
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The increase in overweight and obesity worldwide is described as a global health epidemic. A great proportion of this epidemic is now found in low- and middle-income countries with higher levels of prevalence, particularly in emerging economies. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa ranks high in the prevalence of obesity at all levels. Since the inception of democracy in 1994, the government is yet to overcome the burden of poverty and inequality routed in its apartheid past. Apartheid systematically and unjustly disintegrated and segregated black Africans and people of Colour, denying them access to economic opportunity, thus leaving them on a dependency status. Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain are the relics of apartheid policies. Obesity and associated diseases are highly correlated with gender dynamics, economic conditions, nutritional status, poverty, and urbanisation. It is increasingly evident that poor urban dwellers, especially women and children are at risk of obesity-related factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases. The increasing incidence of obesity especially amongst children is concerning. The prevalence of child poverty is in South Africa is a cause for concern. Over 18.5million children are in South Africa, 64% of which are dependent on CSG. With poverty and inequality affecting millions of households, access to food and quality food has reached crises level. Yet, it is a basic human right that has received little empirical response amongst policymaker in South Africa. The South African food system is complex, poverty is endemic and poor households are most vulnerable to unhealthy eating habits. This research critically analysis the link between food choices, overweight and obesity in adults and children living in urban peripheral communities in Cape Town. The study was designed to interrogate the kinds of food eaten by urban peripheral dwellers, their socioeconomic status and how the policy of the BIC addresses the problem of child obesity in South Africa.