The prevalence of obesity and overweight among healthcare workers in Mafikeng Provincial Hospital
Thesis (MFamMed)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Obesity is one of the of the most pressing public health problems. Its prevalence has reached an epidemic proportion (>15%) in many countries. Obesity mainly results from a discrepancy between energy consumption and expenditure due to a complex interplay of behavioral and genetic factors. Studies have shown a growing prevalence even amongst healthcare workers. In South Africa, there seem to be a dearth of information in this area, thus the motivation for this study. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity amongst 430 healthcare workers in Mafikeng Provincial Hospital. For each participant, weight was measured using a weight scale and height with a ruler. The Body Mass Index was the calculated using weight in kilogram divided by height in meter square. This was recorded in a questionnaire which was also used to obtain information on the knowledge, attitude and perception of the participants about overweight and obesity. Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity was found to be 29.7% and 41.0% respectively. Also this study showed a significant association between overweight and obesity prevalence and the following risk factors: lack of or inadequate exercise (P<0.05), eating between meals (P<0.05), black race (P<0.05), level of education with higher rates in those with tertiary education (P<0.009) and advancing age starting from participants aged 30 years and above (P<0.00). Conclusion: This research shows a high prevalence of overweight and obesity amongst the participants which was higher than that of the general adult population of South Africa. Thus we recommend the development of programmes that promote healthy lifestyle amongst healthcare workers. There is need for further studies that will be more representative of the healthcare workers in South Africa to determine the extent of this problem.
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