• Sugar sweetened beverage consumption in the early years and implications for type 2 diabetes: A sub-Saharan Africa context

      Audain, Keiron A.; Levy, Louis; Ellahi, Basma; University of Zambia; Public Health England; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2019-02-28)
      This review aims to explore trends of early consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), within the context of growing child and adolescent obesity and escalating type-2 diabetes prevalence. We explore efforts to mitigate these, drawing on examples from Africa and elsewhere. SSBs including carbonated drinks and fruit juices, play a contributory role in the development of obesity and associated non-communicable diseases. SSA is an attractive market for beverage companies owing to its rapid economic growth, growing middle class and youthful populations. SSBs already contribute significantly to total sugar and energy consumption in SSA where a plethora of marketing techniques targeted at younger people are utilised to ensure brand recognition and influence purchasing and brand loyalty. Coupled with a general lack of nutrition knowledge or engagement with preventative health, this can lead to frequent consumption of sugary drinks at a young age. Many high and some middle income countries public health efforts address increasing prevalence of obesity and type-2 diabetes by focussing on strategies to encourage reduction in sugar consumption via health policy and public education campaigns. However, similar efforts are not as developed or forthcoming in low-income countries. Health care systems across SSA are ill-prepared to cope with epidemic proportions of non-communicable diseases, particularly when contextualized with the ongoing battle with infectious diseases. We conclude that greater efforts by governments and the nutrition community to educate the public on the health effects of increased and excessive consumption of SSBs are necessary to help address this issue.