South Africa’s Healthiest City Revealed

Penelope Cairns |

The results are in! Where does your city stand?

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Designed by Freepik

The Mother City has the healthiest population in South Africa according to the Discovery Vitality ObeCity Index 2017, which presents the latest insights on weight status (measured by Body Mass Index and waist circumference) and food purchasing behaviour of nearly half a million Vitality members in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

Cape Town ranked best for weight status, food purchasing and fruit and vegetable intake while Durban were best at reducing their salt and sugar intake.

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“Insights from the Index 2017 allow us to better understand the amount of sugar and salt in the foods we are actually buying, as well as fruit and vegetable consumption,” says Dr Craig Nossel, Head of Vitality Wellness.

“We see a direct correlation between weight status and health outcomes. People with an unhealthy bodyweight incur a direct increase in healthcare costs of approximately R4 400 per person per year,” says Dr Craig Nossel, Head of Vitality Wellness.

“We also know that the purchase of healthy foods has a positive impact on BMI and the associated risks of developing chronic diseases of lifestyle.”

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Discovery data shows that members who purchase healthy foods have a 10% lower BMI compared to those who purchase unhealthy foods. The same purchasing behaviour is associated with up to R2 500 lower health costs per year.

Here’s how SA’s best cities stack up the health scale…

Weight Status

A combined score using Body Mass Index (BMI) with waist circumference.

1.Cape Town





6.Port Elizabeth

Food Purchasing Score

The ratio of healthy to healthy-plus-unhealthy products purchased at Pick n Pay and Woolworths through the HealthyFood benefit. The higher the score, the healthier the basket of food.

1 Cape Town

2 Bloemfontein

3 Port Elizabeth

4 Pretoria

5 Johannesburg

6 Durban

Fruit and Vegetable Intake

The average number of fruit and vegetable portions purchased per member.

1 Cape Town

2 Johannesburg

3 Bloemfontein

4 Pretoria

5 Port Elizabeth

6 Durban

Salt Intake

The average number of teaspoons of salt purchased per member – determined by taking into account purchases of salt as well as of high-salt foods.

1 Durban

2Port Elizabeth

3 Pretoria

4 Bloemfontein

5 Cape Town

6 Johannesburg

Sugar Intake

The average number of teaspoons of sugar purchased per member – determined by taking into account purchases of sugar as well as sugary snacks and drinks.

1 Durban

2 Port Elizabeth

3 Pretoria

4 Johannesburg

5 Cape Town

6 Bloemfontein

READ MORE ON: discovery healthiest city