Today's Big Stories

Overweight teachers sending the wrong message to young pupils - study

A local study has found that the health and lifestyle choices of school teachers may have an impact on the habits adopted by young primary school pupils.

The study looked at developing a diabetes prevention programme among young people and the role of Western Cape teachers, many of which who may be overweight or have cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure issues.

The study found 31% of the teachers that took part were overweight, while 47% were obese - with obesity more common among female educators.

50% of the female teachers had blood pressure and 1 in 4 teachers were not informed.

Nutritional expert and Associate Professor Marjanne Senekal says that primary school teachers have an influential role to play in the potential lifestyle interventions for children.

The teacher was identified as potential influence in the environment of the learner, who could actually influence the physical activity, dietary intake and lifestyle of learners.

Marjanne Senekal, Nutritional expert and Associate Professor Marjanne Senekal at UCT

Senekal advises that it is important to look at the health profile and lifestyle of school teachers.

She explains that obesity, which has become more normalised, is a risk factor for other chronic diseases.

Senekal says that teacher should be encouraged to model healthy lifestyles for pupils to look up to.

517 teachers in 100 poorer schools from across the Cape participated in the study.

Listen to Marjanne Senekal reveal the findings:

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