Obesity is a major health and economic problem in SA. Over the last decade, obesity in SA has risen and there are now approximately 19 million obese or overweight adults in the country including close to half of all women. What is even more alarming is that close to 20% of children are obese. At the same time, SA has seen a significant rise in the consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods, including sugary beverages. In 1991, the annual per capita consumption of Coca-Cola products was 132 servings, but had risen to 254 by 2010, placing SA among the top 10 global consumers of Coca Cola products. The sugary beverage tax, or health promotion levy, which was implemented in 2018 and increased with inflation in 2019, is one step in the right direction to tackling the country’s obesity epidemic. Added sugar in the diet has been well demonstrated to be a major contributor to obesity, and liquid sugar in the form of sugary beverages is an even more serious offender. These beverages ...

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