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South Africa To Implement Sugar Tax To Fight Obesity

Update Date: Mar 04, 2017 08:00 AM EST

As a move in preventing incidences of obesity from increasing in the country, the South African government is planning to implement a sugar tax. This is a move following Mexico, France, Hungary and New Work, who have already pioneered the strategy to control the increasing rate of obesity and diabetes in their respective country.

CNN reports that the South Africa is planning to introduce a 20 percent tax on soft drinks and will be implemented by April 1. South Africa has one of the highest rates of obesity on the continent and the first African country to adapt the tax measures after Mexico, France, New York and Hungary's move in controlling obesity and diabetes.

Data from the Overseas Development Institute reveals that the number of overweight and obese people in developing worlds has increased from 250 million in 1980 to a billion in recent years. Soft drinks have also become a part of the national diet and have significantly increased in South Africa over the past 50 years.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, a new study reveals that larger waistlines and increased cancer risk are indeed fueled by people's love for sweet treats and fast food, BBC reports. The study conducted at the Cancer Research UK found that a third of Scots are confectionary and sweets at least once a day.

Being overweight is also one of the biggest cause of preventable cancer, second to smoking. Thirteen types of cancer, including bowel, breast, and pancreatic cancer are being linked to a person's weight.

The marketing measures of selling soft drinks create a message that is good to drink beverages and rarely discuss the risks that come with its consumption. This has become the reason why obesity has become an epidemic in the region.

Other potential interventions that the government will implement in addition to the tax increase are nutrition labeling, marketing restrictions to unhealthy foods and beverages in children, as well as fruit and vegetable subsidies.

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