The People Health Movement South Africa today 10-12-19 wer picketing at the parliament of South Africa between 10am and 11am to highlight that South Africa is currently faced with the double burden of malnutrition – undernutrition and overweight with poor quality nutrition. Malnutrition is due to the poor-quality diet as well as the amount of food consumed by the individuals and families who are struggling due to Household Food Insecurity. This situation is aggravated by the cost of healthy food and easy access to cheap unhealthy food in our communities.
Over the past few years, there has been an increase in supermarkets in the townships. Although these make a variety of food easily accessible, they are also a dumping site for unhealthy food which is often sold at a lower price. They also undermine the livelihoods of small farmers who have to compete with big corporates and commercial producers who enjoy hidden subsidies thanks to the way markets and tax rebates are structured.
Although South Africa has enjoyed Democracy for more than 20 years, inequalities are worse than ever. Those residing in poorly resourced communities still live in a state of deprivation.
Data that has been collected in supermarkets situated in different socio-economic areas in the urban and rural sites shows that there are differences in the types and quality of food between the different areas. For example, residents in disadvantaged communities do not have fresh fish in their supermarkets while the same chain store has it in a middle-income area. On the other hand, chicken skins were only available in the low-income areas.
Moreover, unhealthy food occupied the highest proportion of shelf space inlow-income areas. Despite the availability of a variety of foods in these supermarkets, in low-socioeconomic areas they also become sources of highly processed and fatty food items.
The townships should not be a dumping site for unhealthy food which put people at risk for obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases
Make healthy food easily accessible
Subsidise healthy food and tax those who sell unhealthy food
Restructure the market so that small producers can get their food direct to markets without being squeezed by big companie who enjoy advantages in subsidies, markets and non-competitive behaviours
We have a thriving vegetable production sector in Phillipi supplying nutritious foods to poor areas of Cape Town, yet the City is intent on destroying the integrity of the Phillipi horticultural area in favour of high-end development.
These gated community developments are bad for food and water security at a time we face drought and climate change.
We as the People’s Health Movement are furthermore in support of the demands of the Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA).
- We demand the state support initiatives that:
- Improve Access to Healthy Food and Water
- Improve Access to locally sourced Fresh and Healthy Foods in low-SES areas
- Strongly regulate and restrict the advertising of unhealthy food items – particularly to children
- Ensure that the nutritional value of food is appropriately labelled on all goods
- Improve education on healthy diets and healthy food choices in schools and in public education campaigns
- Enforce and expand a 20% tax on sugary foods and beverages and ensure the creation of a healthy food subsidy to make good food more accessible to the people of South Africa
- Support Exclusive Breastfeeding of infants and reject the influence of formula milk industry
Issued by the People’s Health Movement South Africa 10 December 2019
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