Despite its reputation as a sporting powerhouse, South Africa is among the "fattest countries" with a whopping 61 per cent of its population reported as obese, according to a new survey.
The survey said 61 per cent of South Africans were overweight, obese or morbidly obese dispelling the notion that obesity was a purely western phenomenon.
Around 49 per cent of South Africans did not exercise and 71 per cent had never dieted, the research said, adding 17 per cent of children under nine years were overweight.
A gap has been reported between perception and reality: 78 per cent of obese people and 52 per cent of those morbidly obese regarded themselves as somewhat healthy or very healthy.
Some 42 per cent had no health concerns and only 47 per cent recognised that exercise and physical fitness were critical.
Meanwhile, 74 per cent of South Africans thought their fellow citizens were overweight and only 34 per cent considered themselves as overweight or obese.
People in Cape Town were the worst affected with 72 per cent overweight, closely followed by residents of Pretoria (68 per cent), Johannesburg (59 per cent) and Durban (52 per cent).
A sample of 500 respondents was selected for face-to-face interviews.
The national survey was conducted on behalf of healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) by marketing consultancy Added Value.