It’s incredible to think that 2017 is nearly over. It seems that each year the time goes quicker. From an association perspective, we have had a very busy 2017. The new ADSA Executive Committee took the reins at the beginning of July and we have some exciting plans and goals for our term as we aim to unite the dietetic profession in South Africa.
National Nutrition Week
In South Africa, National Nutrition Week took place from 9-15 October. The theme this year was “Rethink your drink – Choose water”. This is a wonderful initiative with various stakeholders (National Department of Health, The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the Consumer Goods Council (CGCSA) and Milk Consumer Education Project). Various media releases and media campaigns were conducted throughout the week. In addition, ADSA hosted a Twitter Talk on 11 October from 13:00 – 14:00 (11:00 GMT). The Twitter handle @ADSA_RD was used with the hashtags #RethinkYourDrink, #NNW17 and #ChooseWater. The Twitter Talk is designed to bring everyone together in cyber space to discuss the National Nutrition Week theme.
South African Sugar Tax
On 6 June 2017, ADSA’s COO Jessica Byrne had the opportunity to present ADSA’s Position Statement on the Proposed Taxation of Sugar Sweetened Beverages in South Africa in parliament.
The taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages, now referred to as the Health Promotion Levy (HPL), was presented in the 2017 budget speech and included in the 2017 Draft Rates Bill. Public comments to the Standing Committee on Finance around the HPL were presented at hearings that were held on 31 May and 6 June 2017 in parliament, where representatives from industry, NGOs, academics and public health bodies were given the opportunity to present their positions on the draft bill. Following this, the National Treasury and South African Revenue Service (SARS) shared a draft response document that addresses comments on the proposed HPL from written comments and during the hearings. In the draft response document, the National Treasury and SARS made some important revisions to the February 2017 draft rates bill that help strengthen the HPL for its stated purpose of health promotion. ADSA has had the privilege of being part of the consultation process, and has submitted comments to the committee on four occasions. The implementation of the levy has been delayed until April 2018.
To read ADSA’s full position statement on the proposed taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages in South Africa, go to www.adsa.org.za/AboutUs/PoliciesandPositionStatements.aspx.
Dietitian’s Week 2017
In collaboration with the British Dietetics Association (BDA), Dietitian’s Week was celebrated in South Africa from 12-16 June, with the 2017 theme “Eat Fact Not Fiction”. This year’s theme highlighted the important role of dietitians who are able to interpret nutrition science and dietary guidelines in order to customize nutrition advice for individuals. We thank all the ADSA spokespersons who assisted with media queries through Dietitian’s Week, and took part in the BDA Twitter Chat on 12 June, #dietitiansweek. The BDA infographic was adapted to the South African context and translated to Xhosa and Zulu, and is available for download on ADSA’s website.
World Breast Feeding Week
World breast feeding week was celebrated from 1- 7 August 2017 and ADSA was very involved in rolling out the campaign in South Africa. We aligned with the theme of “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together” with our “Breast Feeding and work - Let’s make it work” campaign. We encouraged our members to engage with businesses to discuss the rights a mother has to continue breastfeeding once her maternity leave ends. We provided infographics, standardised letters, presentations and supporting resources to our members to assist them in spreading the message of the importance of infant nutrition through supporting breastfeeding in the work place.
National Nutrition Congress 2018
Our National Nutrition Congress will be held from the 5-7 September 2018 at Misty Hills in Johannesburg. The theme is “Nutrition: Past, Present and Future.” Further information can be found on the congress website at www.nutritioncongress.co.za
Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA)