An SA study has raised alarm about the state of teachers' health, suggesting that not only are they at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes due to metabolic disorders, but a lack of exercise could spell more health troubles for them.
Researchers from the North West University in Potchefstroom, who assessed the relationship between physical activity, body fatness and metabolic syndrome among 216 teachers in Kenneth Kaunda district in the North West, found almost a third (29%) of teachers, who took part in the study had metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
Almost half (46%) of those with metabolic disorders were men compared to 13% of women.
Metabolic syndrome, which is considered a public health concern, is a cluster of metabolic risk factors that include elevated blood pressure, triglyceride (body fat), cholesterol and obesity. The risk of mortality for people living with metabolic syndrome is two times more compared to healthy individuals.
Researchers found that a third (33%) of teachers, aged 25 to 65, did not exercise at all, while two-thirds (67%) participated in minimal exercise. Researchers expressed concern about the prevalence of metabolic syndrome among teachers, saying the latest finding is similar to existing statistics in other parts of SA. More than half (52%) of the participants reported drinking alcohol.
Previous research found the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Gauteng to be 29% and in KwaZulu-Natal 26.5%.
In the latest study researchers found triglycerides showed a negative association with physical activity, indicating that exercise may be beneficial in lowering body fat among teachers.