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There is often a two-way relationship between the lack of access to adequate and affordable energy services and poverty. The relationship is, in many respects, a vicious cycle in which people who lack access to cleaner and affordable energy are often trapped in a re-enforcing cycle of deprivation, lower incomes and the means to improve their living conditions while at the same time using significant amounts of their very limited income on expensive and unhealthy forms of energy that provide poor and/or unsafe services.
Access to cleaner and affordable energy options is essential for improving the livelihoods of the poor in developing countries. The link between energy and poverty is demonstrated by the fact that the poor in developing countries constitute the bulk of an estimated 2.7 billion people relying on traditional biomass for cooking and the overwhelming majority of the 1.4 billion without access to grid electricity. Most of the people still reliant on traditional biomass live in Africa and South Asia.
Limited access to modern and affordable energy services is an important contributor to the poverty levels in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of Asia. Access to modern forms of energy is essential to overcome poverty, promote economic growth and employment opportunities, support the provision of social services, and, in general, promote sustainable human development. It is also an essential input for achieving most Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a useful reference of progress against poverty by 2015 and a benchmark for possible progress much beyond that.
To investigate predictors of adolescent obesity in rural South Africa.
Cross-sectional study. Height, weight and waist circumference were measured using standard procedures. Overweight and obesity in adolescents aged 10–17 years were assessed using the International Obesity Taskforce cut-offs, while the WHO adult cut-offs were used for participants aged 18–20 years. Waist-to-height ratio of >0·5 defined central obesity in those at Tanner stages 3–5. Linear and logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate risk factors.
Agincourt sub-district, rural South Africa.
Participants (n 1848) were aged 10–20 years.
Combined overweight and obesity was higher in girls (15 %) than boys (4 %), as was central obesity (15 % and 2 %, respectively). With regard to overweight/obesity, fourfold higher odds were observed for girls and twofold higher odds were observed for participants from households with the highest socio-economic status (SES). The odds for overweight/obesity were 40 % lower if the household head had not completed secondary level education. For central obesity, the odds increased 10 % for each unit increase in age; girls had sevenfold higher odds v. boys; post-pubertal participants had threefold higher odds v. pubertal participants; those with older mothers aged 50+ years had twofold higher odds v. those whose mothers were aged 35–49 years; those in highest SES households had twofold higher odds v. those in lowest SES households.
In rural South Africa, adolescent females are most at risk of obesity which increases with age and appears to be associated with higher SES. To intervene effectively, it is essential to understand how household factors influence food choice, diet and exercise.
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