That morning juice, tea-time pick me up and the few glasses of cooldrink over dinner, while they might seem harmless, all add to dangerous amounts of sugar we consume daily and are fast becoming a serious health concern. The new Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA) TV advert shows why.
In South Africa, sugary drinks have almost become the drink of choice. Sales are relentlessly driven by inescapable, hard-edged advertising and reinforced by aspirations. Yet the reality is that these drinks are far from healthy.
The new advert takes us on a journey of a woman who consumes numerous sugary drinks throughout the day without thinking about the consequences.
“South Africans continue to consume sugary drinks even though we know of the negative health effects it can lead to such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay,” says HEALA coordinator, Tracey Malawana.
South Africa is one of the world’s top 10 consumers of sugary drinks and consumption has been growing at about 3% a year. Recent growth has been highest among low-income households, the All Media Products Survey shows.
These excessive levels of sugar consumption affect everyone, from building-site labourers to mothers inadvertently preparing their children for obesity and diabetes by putting sugary drinks in lunch boxes and on our dinner tables.
In the end you suffer, your family suffers and your health suffers. The advert concludes by showing the damaging effects that sugary drinks have on your body
Extensive research has shown how dumping sugar into the bloodstream through drinks is linked, through its close relationship to obesity, diabetes and even some cancers.
Diabetes has become the number one cause of death among South African women and the second most common cause of death in the total population, according to Stats SA. Diabetes is a complex disease and its causes are multiple. However, the increase in diabetes in our country is unquestionably linked to the increase in obesity, particularly among women.
In South Africa 10 million adults are considered obese and a further 1.6 million children are obese according a new study released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Malawana says that this is an emergency and that measures to tackle it need to include a rapid introduction of a tax on sugary drinks.
Global research shows that the tax will have a significant impact in reducing and preventing these diseases. Addressing the high consumption of sugary drinks in South Africa is a key starting point to tackling obesity prevention.
“There are plenty of other, low sugar drink options that can quench your thirst – we should drink water like how we drink sodas,” concludes Malawana
Every South African has the right to access clean drinking water and healthy food. The Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA) is an alliance of organisations and thousands of interested South Africans with this mission in mind. Its current member organisations are: Health-e News Services, Health Promotion and Development Foundation, Khulisa Social Solutions, Rural Health Advocacy Project, Section 27, South African Dental Association (SADA), South African Paediatric Association (SAPA), Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa (SEMDSA) and Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).