Re­think your drink – choose wa­ter

Vuk'uzenzele - - Youhtehalftohcus - More Mat­shediso

GOV­ERN­MENT WANTS cit­i­zens to make healthy choices when it comes to choos­ing their drink.

The na­tional Depart­ment of Health is en­cour­ag­ing South African cit­i­zens to con­sider mak­ing wa­ter a bev­er­age of choice each day, as it is es­sen­tial for health and the best way to quench thirst.

The aim is to help cit­i­zens to drink wa­ter as a daily habit be­cause it is gen­er­ally good for every­body’s health. Choos­ing su­gar-sweet­ened drinks as an al­ter­na­tive to drink­ing wa­ter, spikes the body’s daily kilo­joule in­take, de­grades diet and leads to weight gain.

In its Na­tional Nutri­tion Week cam­paign, the depart­ment also high­lighted non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases such as type 2 di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and den­tal de­cay.

The Director of Nutri­tion at the depart­ment, Re­bone Nt­sie, said the preva­lence of obe­sity and non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases in the coun­try are alarm­ing.

“The South African De­mo­graphic and Health Sur­vey con­ducted in 2016 found that the preva­lence of over­weight was 13.3 per­cent among chil­dren of zero to five years of age. About 67.6 per­cent and 31.3 per­cent of South African women and men re­spec­tively are over­weight and obese. Th­ese find­ings show that over­weight and obe­sity among chil­dren and adults have in­creased from ear­lier sur­veys. Re­plac­ing sug­ary drinks with wa­ter can help,” said Nt­sie.

“Be­sides keep­ing you hy­drated, wa­ter helps with di­ges­tion, reg­u­lates your body tem­per­a­ture and lubri­cates your joints. Fur­ther­more, tap wa­ter is cheaper than any other drink.”

The depart­ment said daily con­sump­tion of two or more sug­ary drinks has been found to in­crease the risk of de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes by at least 24 per­cent com­pared to con­sum­ing less than one sug­ary drink per month.

Ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics South Africa, di­a­betes was the sec­ond lead­ing un­der­ly­ing cause of death in the coun­try in 2015, ac­count­ing for about 5.4 per­cent of deaths, and it is the lead­ing cause of death in fe­males, ac­count­ing for about 7.1 per­cent of deaths.

On av­er­age, com­mer­cially pro­duced sug­ary drinks con­tain the fol­low­ing: Amounts of su­gar per 500 ml serv­ing (two av­er­age-sized cups/glasses): • Sweet­ened fizzy drinks: 13 – 17 tea­spoons En­ergy drinks: 13½ to 15 tea­spoons

Fruit juice: 12 – 16 tea­spoons

Sweet­ened milk or yo­ghurt-based drinks: 7 – 13½ tea­spoons Sweet­ened iced tea: 8 – 10½ tea­spoons

Sports drinks: 4½ - 12 tea­spoons.

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