Exploring beliefs and perceptions about obesity among black South African University students
This mini dissertation presents a discussion of the exploration of the beliefs and perceptions of black South African university students between the ages of 18 and 24. The sample in the current study consists of 9 male and 9 female students registered at North-West University Vaal Triangle Campus. An explorative qualitative research design was used. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather data. A substantial finding that materialised in relation to participants’ views of obesity was a degree of ambivalence between traditional African conceptions of obesity as a symbol of beauty, and modern Western views of obesity as being unattractive. The results also reveal that participants maintain that obesity was an indication that someone was wealthy and affluent. This view was also held among the participants’ peers. The results show that participants believe that obesity is caused by several factors that include dietary habits, eating patterns and several social influences. The participants mentioned that the most prominent cause of obesity was poor food choices. They explained that people tend to eat food that is convenient for them. This can be seen as carelessness because they do not watch what they eat. Participants also noted that as consequence of being obese, an individual might be treated differently and seen as an outsider. This could result in name calling and mocking from different members of their communities. Although there are slight differences when it comes to how obesity is viewed, these findings suggest that the younger generation of African participants in this study hold similar views to those of their adult counterparts, as reflected in previous studies.
- Humanities