In his budget speech this year, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced plans of a sugar tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to come into effect from April 2017.
One of the proposed tax’s purposes is to try to curb rising obesity rates, by highlighting that calorie intake isn’t just about what we eat, but also what we drink. It also aims to change the current reality of unhealthy drinks being cheap in South Africa and therefore more accessible to the majority of the country’s population.
South Africa has the highest obesity rate in sub-Saharan Africa
South Africa has the highest overweight and obesity rate in sub-Saharan Africa, according to The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, with up to 70% of women and a third of men being classified as overweight or obese.
Obesity isn’t only an adult problem. One in four girls and one in five boys between the ages of two and 14 are overweight or obese.
Why too much sugar is bad for kids
High sugar intake during childhood leads to dental cavities, obesity and poor nutrition. While sugary foods provide an abundance of calories, they can be nutrient-poor. The eating habits established in childhood can easily last a lifetime, putting your child at risk to serious diseases such as diabetes in the long run.
Start reducing your child’s sugar intake by implementing these easy steps:
As awareness of the dangers of consuming too much sugar grows, and the introduction of the sugar tax planned in seven months’ time, CEO of Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals, Karen McCann suggests the following tips to reduce your child’s sugar intake:
Swop the sugar-sweetened beverages
Sugar-laden drinks include fizzy cold drinks, cordials, flavoured milks and fruit juices, which can be replaced with unsweetened options. Promote water as the go-to drink for satisfying thirst.
Set a specific day or mealtime for dessert
Schedule dessert as a sweet treat once a week, such as Sunday lunch. This helps to model moderation when it comes to yummy but high sugar foods. Fruit can be served as a dessert with other meals during the week.
Go 50/50 with some sugar favourites
Going “halfsies” helps to dilute and wean a sweet tooth. Offer half a serving of plain yoghurt with half a serving of flavoured yoghurt, or half a serving of unsweetened cereal with half a serving of a sweetened variety, and most importantly, mix half fruit juice with half water.
Make fresh fruit and veg the first-choice for snacking
Make sure you have a variety of fruits and veggies at home that kids can snack on. Carrot and cucumber sticks, cocktail tomatoes and snap peas make for healthy snacks, as well as fresh and frozen fruit options.
Lead by example
The easiest way to get your child to make healthy eating choices happily is to let them witness you making good decisions for yourself.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.