Today, South Africa’s parliament officially adopted a sugary beverage tax, the first significant sugary beverage tax in Sub-Saharan Africa. In response, WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases Michael Bloomberg said:
“South Africa is the latest in a growing list of countries to recognize that sugary beverages are harmful to health and that taxes work to reduce consumption. Rates of obesity and diabetes are rising in every part of the world, contributing to millions of deaths each year — and sugary drinks are one of the biggest culprits. South Africa’s new tax on sugary drinks will help save lives — and spur other countries to act.”
Background on Bloomberg & Obesity Prevention
Michael R. Bloomberg has been focused on improving public health from his time as New York City Mayor and now through his foundation and role as the WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Obesity Prevention Program is addressing the global epidemic by funding civil society and research partners that are raising public awareness of the problem and supporting policies to prevent the rise of obesity in Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, and South Africa. Bloomberg Philanthropies also supports efforts in the U.S. The foundation supports a number of policy approaches including: support for banning advertising aimed at children for junk food and sugary beverages, raising taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, removing unhealthy food from schools and increasing consumer knowledge to understand nutrition labels.