3. “Be active!” Revisiting the South African food-based dietary guideline for activity

Chrisna Rachel Botha, H H Wright, S J Moss, T L Kolbe-Alexander


The objective of this paper was to review current evidence on physical activity for health in order to support the food-based dietary guideline (FBDG) “Be active!”. Physical activity, defined as at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day for adults, and 60 minutes for children and adolescents, is advised in the FBDG because of the role it plays in maintaining energy balance, improving body composition and promoting general health and wellbeing. The reviewed outcome measures are changes in physical activity patterns and the reported prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in South Africa. Despite the previous set of FBDGs, no improvements in physical activity, obesity or NCDs have been reported in South Africa. Recent literature emphasises the beneficial effects of physical activity on the reduction of risk factors associated with the prevalence of NCDs. Physical activity has a positive effect on appetite and weight control, insulin sensitivity, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, stress relief and burnout. Barriers that prevent children and adults from participating in regular physical activity have been identified, and recommendations how to overcome these have been made. It has been concluded that South Africans are not sufficiently physically active for their general health status to be improved. It is recommended that methods to promote physical activity at national, provincial, district and local level need to be developed, implemented and sustained.


physical activity participation, non-communicable disease, South Africa, public health

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S Afr J Clin Nutr: ISSN (Print): 1607-0658, ISSN (Web): 2221-1268

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