South Africa plans to fight obesity with a sugar tax

A customer browses bottles of beverages inside a supermarket in Rustenburg, South Africa, Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Story highlights

  • South Africa follows in the footsteps of Mexico, France, Hungary and New York
  • 20% tax on soft drinks will come into force April 1

(CNN)The South African government is planning to implement a sugar tax to help curb the country's growing obesity epidemic.

The problem reflects the global increase in obesity and overweight rates across developing countries, surpassing the rate of obesity in developed states.
The number of overweight and obese people in the developing world has grown from 250 million in 1980 to a billion in recent years, according to the Overseas Development Institute.