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SAAPA's response to sports bodies opposition to ban of alcohol adverts

SAAPA agrees with sport administrators that government should fund sport! Participation in sports, especially by children and young people, is critical if we are to change the future health of citizens.

A healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity is one of the key international recommendations to deal with the challenge of global non-communicable diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart problems, all to a large extent caused by consumption of alcohol, tobacco and products with high sugar, salt and fat content.

And that is why SAAPA supports a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorships linked in any way to sport. The alcohol industry has publically stated that it wants to grow its market amongst young people in Africa. Advertising and sponsorship of sport is one of the major ways of reaching young people. In a recent study, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) found that 77.5% of young people who reported drinking in the last six months, have been influenced by alcohol adverts linked to sport.

We need to keep sport free from harmful products so that children and young people develop healthy habits. We need to increase the age at which children start drinking and encourage a reduction in their consumption if they do start drinking. Research has found that 12% of children under 12 have already drunk alcohol and 25 % of those under 19 are binge drinking. Taking alcohol adverts out of sport is a key way of creating an environment for healthy habits.

We invite the different sports bodies, government and corporates who do not have a direct interest in promoting a harmful product, to join SAAPA and explore how South Africa can fund sports without depending on the alcohol industry. It should be remembered that tobacco companies used sport to market their products. When this was banned, alternative funding was found, and not only from the alcohol industry – banks, cell phone companies, insurance companies and the like have all stepped and will continue to do so in the future.

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