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Reducing Sugar Intake in South Africa: Learnings from a Multilevel Policy Analysis on Diet and Noncommunicable Disease Prevention.

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

Change log

Authors

Shung-King, Maylene 
Mapa-Tassou, Clarisse  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0709-1449

Abstract

High sugar intake contributes to diet-related excess weight and obesity and is a key determinant for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The World Health Organization (WHO) gives specific advice on limiting sugar intake in adults and children. Yet, to what extent have policy ideas on sugar intake reduction originating at the global level found expression at lower levels of policymaking? A systematic policy document analysis identified policies issued at the African regional, South African national and Western Cape provincial levels between 2000 and 2020 using search terms related to sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), and NCDs. Forty-eight policy documents were included in the review, most were global and national policies and thus the focus of analysis. A policy transfer conceptual framework was applied. Global recommendations for effectively tackling unhealthy diets and NCDs advise implementing a mix of cost-effective policy options that employ a multisectoral approach. South African country-level policy action has followed the explicit global guidance, and ideas on reducing sugar intake have found expression in sectors outside of health, to a limited extent. As proposed in this paper, with the adoption of the SSB health tax and other policy measures, South Africa's experience offers several learnings for other LMICs.

Description

Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR); Grant(s): GHR:16/137/34, 16/137/34

Keywords

NCDs, SSBs, South Africa, noncommunicable diseases, sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, Adult, Beverages, Child, Diet, Humans, Noncommunicable Diseases, Policy, Policy Making, South Africa, Sugars, Taxes

Journal Title

Int J Environ Res Public Health

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1661-7827
1660-4601

Volume Title

19

Publisher

MDPI AG
Sponsorship
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (16/137/34)