Original Research

Prevalence of adolescent obesity at a high school in the City of Tshwane

Nomusa A. Ngwenya, Tendani S. Ramukumba
Curationis | Vol 40, No 1 | a1662 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v40i1.1662 | © 2017 Nomusa A. Ngwenya, Tendani S. Ramukumba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 December 2015 | Published: 23 May 2017

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Nomusa A. Ngwenya, Adelaide Tambo School of Nursing Science, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
Tendani S. Ramukumba,, South Africa

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Background: Obesity has been reported to be on the rise in the world and South Africa is no exception. In recent years obesity has been reported to contribute to the increasing number of people with hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Africa has the fastest growing number of overweight and obese adolescents, with indications that in 2010, it had more than doubled since 1990. Some people might perceive being overweight as being round and healthy which might contribute to the increased rate of obesity in South Africa. Physical and psychological changes that occur during adolescence can also be observed earlier during the preteen years (ages 9–12 years). During this time, peer groups and external appearance are of importance. Physical changes, such as obesity, might be perceived negatively by adolescents, affecting their self-esteem.
Objectives: The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence of adolescent obesity at a high school in the City of Tshwane.
Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted. Stratified random sampling was used and data were collected from 30% of the total population as recommended by the statistician. Data analysis was performed using descriptive analysis. Validity and reliability were ensured through calibrating the weight-monitoring scale and the measuring tape, which are collection tools.
Results: The results identified the prevalence of adolescent obesity at 8.57%. There is evidence of abdominal obesity and waist–hip ratio ≥ 1. The results show that there is a steady increase in obesity levels among adolescents. The poor response of parents was observed and could demonstrate the need to form stronger partnerships for weight reduction interventions.
Conclusion: Evidence-based prevalence allowed for conceptualisation of the scope of the obesity epidemic and how children and young people are also affected. To enable proper planning for adolescent obesity interventions, the depth of consequences of obesity for the adolescent cohort should be well defined and clarified.


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