HEALA’s research into over 60 Gauteng schools in 2018 found high consumption of overly processed unhealthy foods, very little regulation of tuck-shops and food vendors, a lot of beverage industry branding in and around schools, a general lack of knowledge about healthy food and healthy eating, as well as the socio-economic determinants of what informs people’s, more especially in this case, children’s eating habits.
The low nutritional value contained in the foods consumed by the average children has had a negative impact on their health. As a result, 13% of South African children are either overweight or obese. The beverage and food industry cannot be allowed to continue behaving unethically and irresponsible. The HEALA’s school campaign aims to advocate for government to urgently implement policies and regulations that protect the school environment from junk food and sugar-sweetened beverages.