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Most South Africans are physically unfit‚ study reveals

08 September 2016 - 17:24 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
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Very few South Africans are exercising and that those who do not exercise at all are unlikely to do so in future‚ the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) launched by the Department of Planning‚ Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in Pretoria on Thursday reveals.

“In 2008‚ about 14% of South African adults reported exercising at least three times a week. And this number dropped marginally to 13% in 2012‚” the study says.

“South Africans who report that they never exercise are unlikely to start exercising in the future. About 82% of those who reported never exercising in 2008‚ continued to remain inactive in 2012.”

According to the NIDS‚ many of the most active South Africans became inactive over time.

“Half of the people‚ who reported exercising more than three times a week in 2008‚ reported that they never exercised in 2012.”

Those who do not exercise run a risk of becoming ill and medical aid coverage becomes an important security net for some of them when they become ill. Those who do not have medical aid coverage are subjected to paying large sums of money from their own pockets.

“In 2008 and 2012‚ only about 16% of adults and 12% of children were covered by medical aid. And there are very large disparities in coverage between race groups.

“Only about 10% of African adults were covered by medical aid in 2012 compared to 63% of white adults.

“And only 8% of African children were covered in 2012 compared to 61% of white children. Children are especially vulnerable to losing their medical safety net. About 34% lost their coverage between 2008 and 2012‚ compared to about 26% for adult South Africans.”

The NIDS is the first national household panel study in South Africa. The aim of the NIDS is to provide empirical data on the changing socio-economic dynamics of South African society.

The study started surveyed 28‚000 people who were tracked every two years from 2008 to 2015.