From the Daily Maverick: (Link)
“As we’ve noted in these pages before, obesity is not exclusively a developed world problem – it’s also a developing world problem, and one that has signifcant economic implications for countries trying to contain their healthcare costs, South Africa among them.
As communities and countries emerge from abject poverty, they have access to processed food that is often cheaper, and tastier, than traditional staples. As these high calorie, sugary foods become part of the diet, and as people become more educated and sedentary, the kilograms pile on. The diseases associated with obesity run the gamut – diabetes, heart disease, vascular disorders, you name it. All of those problems cost money to ?x, insofar as they are ?xable, and signi?cantly damage a nation’s productivity. An overweight country is a sickly country, one where health care costs become the signi?cant, if not the only, political talking point.”
The New York City impulse to ban is not something that a country like South Africa could easily embrace at this point – there are legitimate health care issues that should no doubt precede any hysteria over sugary drinks. (Aids pops to mind, as does general health care delivery). That said, if our leaders possess even the smallest ability to peer into the future, dietary education could end up saving billions over the course of the century. One thing is as certain as our genetic predisposition to getting fat off soda – as countries develop, people live longer and are sick for the latter part of their lives. They end up becoming the single largest burden on the treasury, and a political millstone. But there are ways to avoid this. Soda consumption is among them”
University of Cape Town