South Africans more aware of risks of sugary drinks

Project name:
Baseline and follow-up evaluation of the “Are you drinking yourself sick?” campaign in South Africa



Area of Expertise:
Research, evaluation and design

Vital Strategies


South Africa

South Africa has the highest obesity rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 39% of men and 69% of women classified as obese or overweight. Sugary-drink consumption is high and growing in South Africa; we are among the top ten global consumers of soft drinks, and about a third of our added dietary sugars are from sugar-sweetened beverages.

Vital Strategies and Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA) identified a need to educate South Africans on the sugar content in sugar-sweetened beverages and the harm of excessive sugar consumption. They launched a campaign, “Are you drinking yourself sick?”, to reduce sugary-drinks consumption and promote support for the sugar tax. 

Genesis Analytics was contracted to do a baseline and follow-up evaluation of the HEALA campaign. The baseline evaluation was conducted in October 2016, before the campaign launch, while the evaluation was conducted in July 2017 after the campaign had been running for almost 10 months. 

Both evaluations comprised samples of 1 000 people aged 18-55 years. Representative household surveys were conducted in the metros and cities of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. 

Preliminary report: Public attitudes towards sugary drinks and support for government action

Public support for sugary drinks tax is growing

Sugary drinks tax gets green light for National Assembly


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