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National Nutrition & Obesity Week 2019

It is certainly encouraging and heartwarming to see the emphasis during National Nutrition week for 2019 to be focusing on the fundamentals of our core well-being and highlighting the use and consumption of WHOLE FOODS.

Despite what we know about the impact of food choices on our health, overweight and obesity are still on the rise in South Africa, alongside a host of preventable diseases that can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyles.

The message that a coalition of health professionals, including the Department of Health, is highlighting in October during National Nutrition and Obesity Week (9 to 19 October) is that, thanks to our industrialised food system, and far greater, ultra-processed and fast food choices aimed at our ‘convenience’, we’ve got further away from eating the whole foods that are really good for us.

This year’s theme is: 

“Make eating whole foods a way of life”.

Some Facts you may not be aware of:

  • Ultra-processed foods that are high in fats, sugar and/or salt contribute to obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Research has shown that even just one additional serving of ultra-processed food daily has been found to increase the risk of death from NCDs by 18 per cent.
  • Globalisation and trade liberalisation influence the prevalence in overweight and obesity. An analysis of food imports in 172 countries from 1994 to 2010 has shown that the level of sugar and processed food imports is significantly associated with a rise in average BMI.
  • The sales of ultra-processed products in the world increased by 43.7 per cent from 2000 to 2013.
  • The 2016 SADHS found that 68 per cent of women and 31 per cent of men in the country are overweight or obese. About 20 per cent of women and three per cent of men are severely obese.
  • Approximately 13.3 per cent of children younger than five years are overweight or obese which is more than double the global average of 6.1 per cent. The 2012 SANHANES showed that 14.2 per cent of children aged six to 14 years are overweight or obese.
  • In South Africa, from 1994 to 2012, there has been an overall increase in energy intake, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed and packaged foods, animal source foods, and added caloric sweeteners, while the consumption of vegetables actually decreased. In particular, the consumption of processed and packaged food, such as soft (sugary) drinks, sauces, dressings and condiments, and sweet and savoury snacks had the most drastic increase (>50 per cent).
  • The 2016 SADHS found that among respondents 15 years and older, the consumption of sugary drinks (including fruit juice) the day or night before the survey was 35.7 per cent, with an average volume of 607.2 ml. 36.5 per cent of respondents consume fried foods at least once per week.
  • The consumption of poor food and drink choices starts at an early age with 18 per cent of children age six to eight months consuming salty snacks and four per cent consuming sugary drinks the day or night before the survey. This increased quickly to 64 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, of children aged 18 to 23 months. Children of this age (six to 24 months) should not be having any foods that do not contribute to their high nutrient needs.
processed foods explained image

Key Messages

  • Enjoy a variety of unprocessed or minimally processed food choices
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit every day.
  • Eat dry beans, peas, lentils and soya regularly.
  • Plan and prepare healthy home made meals rather than buying ready to eat food meals/snacks or eating out frequently.
  • Always check food and beverage lables to read what your food and drink consists of.

At Balanced Healing we focus on the fundamentals of health with the pivotal emphasis being on our daily nutritional intake to be the main focus on health & wellness. Healing begins with adequate nutrition.

Balanced Healing
is passionate about creating healthy eating habits and with individual consultation & tailor made planning, assist many people with their nutritional & Lifestyle management. Thus ultimately promoting healing of chronic or sub-clinical ailments such as inflammation, digestive issues and in the prevention of escalating disease processes in obesity driven ailments such as Insulin Resistance, Cholesterol management and some endocrine / hormonal disturbances.

Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food, often ascribed to Hippocrates (400 BC), and used to emphasize the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease.

For more information, please be sure to visit the Department of Health National Nutrition week 2019 web page:

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