THE Economist said in 2014, quoting The Lancet, that up to 70% of SA women and nearly 40% of men were overweight or obese. “Even among children, a quarter of girls and a fifth of boys are too fat, and thus at greater risk of ill-health, from diabetes to heart disease. For years the government has been struggling to contain HIV/Aids but now, some health experts are arguing, it should also concentrate on making people slimmer.”While these statistics represent a kind of prosperity, it may also just be that we are becoming a nation of comfort eaters. There is no doubt that many people turn to food in times of extreme stress, and as a country in transition we have our fair share.This is no accident, says dietician and clinical psychologist Hannetjie Van Zyl-Edeling: “As part of our developmental history, over centuries, during times of major stress, the body goes into conservation mode.” In effect the body goes into a “go-slow”, storing energy and blocking its release, and taking longer ...

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