Miss Supranational South Africa Ayanda Thabethe Debunks Misconceptions Ahead Of World Obesity Day

She also shares three healthy and affordable recipes

By  | Mar 01, 2023, 10:26 AM  | Top of the

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Miss South Africa 2022 runner-up Ayanda Thabethe – who will be representing this country at Miss Supranational in Poland in July as Miss Supranational South Africa – this week launched her advocacy campaign Project Khulisa, which aims to help communities struggling with food insecurity while also opening critical discussions around nutrition and this country’s double burden of malnutrition and obesity.

Also Read: Ayanda Thabethe To Represent South Africa At Miss Supranational

Obesity is one of the biggest health crises facing the world today with nearly 1 billion people living with the disease. World Obesity Day takes place on Saturday, March 4, and aims to correct misconceptions surrounding obesity while taking effective and collective action.

Facts from the official World Obesity Day website:
  • 1.9 billion people globally will be living with obesity in 2035.
  • $4.32 trillion is the estimated global economic impact of obesity in 2035.
  • 100% increase in childhood obesity between 2020 and 2035.
  • 1 in 4 of the world’s population will be living with obesity by 2035.

The 23-year-old Thabethe, who was in her final year of a BSc in Dietetics and Human Nutrition at the University of KwaZulu Natal when she entered the pageant last year, discusses the complexities of obesity and shares some affordable and nutritious recipes.

In your opinion how serious is the obesity problem in this country?
Obesity is the enemy and is underestimated in South Africa. Through a number of mechanisms, some as simple as the mechanical stress of carrying excess weight and others involving complex changes in hormones and metabolism, obesity raises the risk of various fatal and disabling diseases. In addition to raising individual, national, and international healthcare expenses, it also reduces the quality and length of life. The danger of obesity in our country is that many people do not perceive it as a health condition. Some cultures equate obesity to meaning that one is well off or being treated well.

How do we ensure that we don’t simply “fat shame” people?
Having a conversation about obesity can be difficult for anyone. Obesity is not a symptom of laziness or a lack of self-control, as some people incorrectly believe. A number of factors – such as heredity, mental health problems, changes in daily routines, chronic stress, hormone imbalances or medication side effects – might contribute to obesity as a health condition. Despite the cause, suffering silently by yourself will not help you recover from a health condition. Instead, we must approach obesity the same way we do any other health problems, by consulting with our doctor. It also impacts how people perceive themselves in the mirror and their sense of self-worth.

What are the health risks associated with obesity?
Nearly every element of health is negatively impacted by excess weight, from memory and mood to reproductive and pulmonary function. Obesity raises the risk of many fatal and disabling conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and various cancers.

Can you share five top tips for those battling with their weight
  1. Choose to either eat five or six modest meals or three decent size meals a day with a small snack or two in between if necessary.  Either method will maintain a steady blood sugar level and even metabolism. Your body will work better and prevent weight gain if you are in balance.
  2. If you're in good health and satisfied with your weight, an intense workout routine is fine. But a moderate fitness routine will work better for you if you're having trouble losing weight. You will gain more benefits from regular 30-minute walks than from a strenuous, impossible-to-continue 90-minute workout.
  3. Avoid "emotional eating". Being conscious of when you eat because of stress or for comfort is half the battle. You might want to think about employing holistic psychotherapy or meditation to help you let go of old eating habits. You might just find yourself fitting into clothes you haven't been able to for years!
  4. Try to assemble each meal with a protein source, healthy fat source, complex carb, and vegetables. And remember that leafy green vegetables are a great way to bulk up a meal with low calories and lots of nutrients. We need to cut out white starch and sugars and increase our vegetable intake.
  5. Stop skipping meals! Your body may assume it is starving if you skip meals.

Image Cred: ANMG
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