South Africans: The world’s unhealthiest people?

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In a shocking and sad turn of events, the Indigo Wellness Index has recognised South Africa as having the world’s unhealthiest people!

Ten key metrics such as alcohol intake, blood pressure, depression and happiness are used to determine the world’s unhealthiest people. According to data collated from over 150 countries across the globe, South Africans have been identified as being generally unhappy, leading to the abuse of alcohol and tobacco, and general inactivity.

The latest statistics from the World Health Organization reveal that South Africans have a 26% probability of dying from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or chronic respiratory disease between the ages of 30 and 70. These stark findings make it imperative to address the holistic wellbeing of South Africans.

The trend depicts the reality that South Africans are on survival mode, leading more stressful lives and eating heavily processed foods. The increased stress levels promote a more sedentary lifestyle with little or no room for healthy eating and exercise. As such, South Africa’s obesity rate and the onset of diabetes, even among children, have skyrocketed.

How do we change this?

To have a healthy body, one needs to have a healthy mind. The mind, body and spirit work together to create overall harmony. Happiness remains elusive when we are constantly striving for bigger and better material possessions, titles and accolades. True happiness can only be achieved through understanding what is fundamentally important, which are the intangible things.
A complete system overhaul is required to affect change, and some of the ways we can achieve this are by:

  • Limiting tobacco and alcohol intake
  • Being mindful of what you put into your body
  • Trying to maintain some form of exercise for 30 minutes a few times a week, and
  • Meditating, listening to music or engaging in stress-reducing activities.

Living a well-balanced life has far-reaching benefits, aiding in emotional and physical wellbeing and general happiness. It’s about time South Africans’ health and wellness reflect the title of the ‘rainbow nation’.