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Mayor Tau champions healthy lifestyle in Jozi

 

Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau has reiterated the City’s commitment to delivering a healthy lifestyle for all by creating an environment conducive for the provision of affordable food.

Delivering his State of the City Address at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein yesterday, Mayor Tau said: “Research conducted by the City has clearly shown that being food insecure in Jozi isn’t about whether food is available – it’s a matter of how expensive food is, and how much you have to pay in transport to get to it.

“When family budgets are tight, people eat more starch and sugar to make up for the proteins and fresh vegetables they cannot afford. There simply aren’t enough local stores selling healthy food, and not enough healthy choices on fast food menus.

“This means the City has to change how food is produced and sold – changing the political economy of food – by enabling new farmers and retailers to enter the marketplace. Our network of agri-resource centres, with links to farmers’ markets, helps to grow the food sector in new, healthy and local ways.

“The goal is to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle by increasing exercise, promoting healthy eating practices, decreasing alcohol consumption and stopping smoking.”

A Healthy Food Pledge has already been signed by restaurants, among them Wimpy, Hard Rock Café, Nambitha, Sakhumzi, Spur, Ubuntu Kraal and Ocean Basket to provide healthier alternatives for their customers.

“This is more than a pledge – it is a commitment to raise the level of healthy offerings across the food retail sector. The next step is ensuring that the next generation learns healthy ways of living – and to this end we have partnered with Discovery Health to launch the Jozi-Vitality Schools Programme,” he said.

The school programme, based on the Vitality health rewards system, was launched in Ivory Park last month. It will provide incentives to schools that improve indicators of learner health. These include serving healthy food in tuckshops, actively pushing children to exercise more and improving all the factors in the school environment that can impact on wellness.

“Ensuring tomorrow is better than today requires healthier choices and more accessible nutrition today. Thanks to food resilience interventions, today is already better than yesterday for thousands of residents. As we move towards a better tomorrow, that becomes tens and hundreds of thousands of people,” the mayor said.

The City launched the Go Jozi Healthy Lifestyle Programme in 2012 to get residents fit and healthy through exercise and a balanced diet. The programme is aimed at fighting chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart ailments, and to substantially increase the city’s life expectancy.