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Like it, or not – the sugar tax is working

13 April 2021 9:02 AM
Tags:
Health
WHO
Sugar tax
Sugar
World Health Organisation
Refilwe Moloto
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
Wits Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science
sugar levy
health promotion levy
Karen Hofman
sugary beverages

We are drinking far less of the bad stuff, says Prof Karen Hofman of the Wits Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science.

South Africa introduced a sugar tax of 11% per litre three years ago, significantly below 20% recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Nevertheless, it seems to be doing the job.

Cut down on sugar for an instant boost in health. © lightfieldstudios/123rf.com

Refilwe Moloto interviewed Professor Karen Hofman of the Wits Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science.

Hofman and her team researched the impact of the sugar tax and found large reductions in demand for taxed beverages but no significant changes in demand for untaxed drinks.

A similar study a couple of years ago found that households bought 50% fewer sugary beverages.

Did you know?

  • A 25ml cooldrink contains more than 26 grams of sugar; more than half the maximum recommended daily intake.

  • South Africa is one of 50 countries with levies on beverages with added sugar.

Hofman argues for an increase in the health promotion levy.

Indeed, it is working! Consumers have cut their consumption across the country, in every single province, in all socio-economic groups. The cut in sugar consumption has happened particularly amongst the heaviest consumer… It’s happening!

Professor Karen Hofman, Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science - Wits

Liquid sugar is particularly bad… particularly toxic… Fruit juices were not included [in the tax]. They’re less healthy! … Eat your fruit, don’t drink it!

Professor Karen Hofman, Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science - Wits

Energy drinks are on the [sugar tax] list… Advertising for these energy drinks is beyond belief! … The [energy drink] market in North America and Europe has dropped significantly…

Professor Karen Hofman, Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science - Wits

The consumer is paying the tax; it’s not the companies who pay it…

Professor Karen Hofman, Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science - Wits

Artificially sweetened drinks are not particularly healthy either…

Professor Karen Hofman, Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science - Wits

South Africa is having a tsunami of obesity-related conditions… We need to increase the tax…

Professor Karen Hofman, Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science - Wits

Listen to the interview in the audio below.




13 April 2021 9:02 AM
Tags:
Health
WHO
Sugar tax
Sugar
World Health Organisation
Refilwe Moloto
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
Wits Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science
sugar levy
health promotion levy
Karen Hofman
sugary beverages

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