This is according to a recent study which found that 1.6million South African children are considered obese, in addition to 10million adults.
The study, which measured overweight and obesity trends between 1990 and 2015 in close to 200 countries worldwide, found that 107million children are living with obesity globally. While this figure is lower than that seen among adults (603million), children and teenagers are gaining weight at a much faster rate.
The research, which was conducted by the New England Medical Journal, showed the rising obesity rates in the country are crippling young people’s ability to lead healthy lives and fully enjoy their youth.
This is in addition to an even higher number of children and teenagers developing life-threatening chronic diseases like Type II diabetes.
Another shocking finding was that South Africa has the highest obesity rates for women in Africa.
With regard to the research focused on children, the study concluded that a significant proportion of many children’s daily calorie intake is sugary drinks like cool drinks and sweetened fruit juices.
They found that many parents stock the beverages to put in their kids’ school lunch bags and to have with dinner.
Consequently, the escalating weight of youths puts them at greater risk of developing other non-communicable diseases, as well as several cancers, later in life.