Cape Town the unhealthiest city in South Africa

This is a press release from Discovery:

A Discovery Vitality analysis of data collected during a series of wellness days at corporate clients around the country revealed these results. Discovery Vitality in conjunction with the Sport Science Institute of South Africa conducted preliminary research to determine the ranking of the major metropolitan areas in South Africa in terms of health and fitness.

In descending order, the cities were Johannesburg followed by Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town trailing in last position.  

‘€œWhile Capetonians may think the sun, sea and mountain gives them an edge when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle, our research data indicates that theirs is in fact the unhealthiest major city in South Africa,’€ says Dr Craig Nossel, Head of Vitality Wellness at Discovery.

The cities’€™ overall health rating is based on the Vitality Age calculation, which incorporates the lifestyle behaviours (risk factors) of smoking, physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, cholesterol, depressive symptoms, body mass index, and blood glucose, of Vitality members resident in these areas.  

The analysis indicates that, on average, the Vitality members in Cape Town are six months older than their counterparts in Johannesburg.

Johannesburg residents surpassed Capetonians in all the major health indicators.  

‘€œOver 29% of Johannesburg members participate in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity (the recommended minimum for health benefits) compared to 25.7% in Cape Town,’€ says Dr Nossel.

‘€œNearly 12% of Johannesburg members eat the recommended minimum of five fruits and vegetables per day compared to just 9.8% in Cape Town.

‘€œMost surprisingly, only 34.8% of Cape Town members fell within the healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) range of between 18.5 and 25, while 41.7% of Johannesburg members fall within the range.’€.

‘€œThe statistics across all cities are quite worrying. Physical inactivity and obesity are approaching epidemic proportions globally.

‘€œThe result is an increased prevalence of chronic diseases, poor quality of life, increased healthcare expenditure and premature death.’€

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), regular physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, help control weight, contribute to healthy bones, muscles and joints, help relieve the pain of arthritis, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, amongst many other benefits.

The World Health Organisation’€™s (WHO) World Health Day campaign, themed “1 000 cities, 1 000 lives’€ has called upon cities worldwide to open up their streets for health activities during the week 7 -11 April.

Note: Data used was collected during the course of 2009

  • The sample size per City
    • Johannesburg –     15 824
    • Cape Town –   14 727
    • Durban –     8 084
    • Pretoria ‘€“ 7 814
    • Port Elizabeth – 1 709
  • In support of the World Health Day campaign, Discovery Vitality will be awarding triple Vitality points to members for exercising at Vitality fitness partners or buying HealthyFood’„¢ items from Pick n Pay today, 7 April 2010.

Discovery Vitality ·                 Discovery Vitality is a science-based wellness programme that underpins each of the Discovery businesses and is an international brand in its own right. ·                 Vitality encourages healthy behaviours that reduce long-term healthcare costs by rewarding members for improving their health. ·                 It is accredited by the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and more than 1.4 million people currently belong to Vitality. ·                 Vitality is available to Discovery Life and Discovery Health members, clients of PruHealth and PruProtect .


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