Sugar Tax fighting diabetes?
The health promotion levy (sugary drinks tax) was introduced in April 2018, at a watered-down 11% instead of the proposed 20% recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to effectively reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and fight obesity and its associated non-communicable diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension and Stroke.
In 2017, it was estimated that close to 2.3 million South African adults had diabetes, with an incidence rate of 7.5%. Other local studies found SA teens consume over three times the recommended weekly sugar allowance. The weight of increasing the ‘diabetes and obesity epidemic’ in South Africa threatens to crush the country’s overloaded health system‚ experts warn.
South Africa and Egypt are driving the rapidly growing diabetes epidemic on the continent‚ according to the first major study in Africa on diabetes and obesity. Lead author Prof. Andre Kengne, director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit based at Tygerberg Hospital said: “Africa is the region in the world where diabetes is growing fastest. It is growing faster than our coping capacity.”
The WHO said there was increasingly clear evidence that taxes and subsidies influence purchasing behaviour, and that this could be used to curb consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and hence fight obesity and diabetes.