Views of own body weight and the perceived risks of developing obesity and ncds in South African adults

Mashudu Manafe*, Paul K. Chelule, Sphiwe Madiba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity has become a serious public health problem worldwide and is linked to an increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Poor self-perception of body weight is postulated to play a negative role in curbing increased rates of obesity. This study investigated the views of own body weight and perceived risk of developing NCDs in South African adults. This was a communitybased quantitative study. Descriptive statistics were used, and logistic regression analysis was conducted on the data. A total of 1050 respondents took part in the study. Of the 161 respondents who perceived themselves to be normal weight, 98.8% (n = 159) misperceived their body weight. The majority of respondents (>90%) who were overweight according to the calculated BMI perceived no risk of developing obesity-related diseases. Most of the respondents, 46% (n = 253), believed that body weight was influenced by heredity. The method used for weight loss by 57% (n = 173) of the respondents was exercising at home. There was a statistically significant association between Body Mass Index (BMI), employment status, risk of developing diabetes, and body weight misperception (p < 0.05). Misperception of body weight was common among the study respondents and may influence weight control intervention strategies. Health promotion targeting personal behaviour, such as body weight self-perception, is crucial in supporting targeted strategies to address obesity in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11265
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Body mass index
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Perception


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