Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Geelong sports clubs lead the nation in health standards

Geelong sports clubs lead the nation in health standards
April 1, 2014

Sporting clubs in Geelong have made sweeping changes to become healthier places as part of an Australian-first VicHealth trial.

The 73 clubs in the wider Barwon region that took part in VicHealth’s $2 million Healthy Sporting Environments demonstration project in 2012 and 2013, delivered by Leisure Networks.

Clubs made changes to their facilities and culture to encourage thousands of members and players across the region to make healthier choices when it came to smoking, alcohol, choosing food, UV-exposure, injury prevention and creating an environment that is welcoming to women, Aboriginal Victorians and people from diverse backgrounds.

An evaluation of the program, by La Trobe University, shows the most significant change was in members’ behaviour around sun protection and inclusive environments, but the most challenging areas were reducing alcohol use and healthy eating.

VicHealth Chief Executive Jerril Rechter said that the clubs had shown overwhelming support for the project, with 93% agreeing their club was now a better place as a result of being involved.

Rechter stated “Geelong region residents should feel very proud that they’re leading the state and indeed Australia, in promoting health through their beloved sports clubs.

“Around one in four Australians aged older than 15 are involved in organised sport or physical recreation and many more are involved as volunteers, spectators, supporters and sponsors, so the potential to reach communities with health information is significant.

“We’ve learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t through this project and are grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment of the clubs involved to make these changes and give us feedback throughout the process.

“This program has been so well received, VicHealth has provided a further $3.3 million for 250 rural Victorian clubs to join the program. We are thrilled with the results and look forward to seeing this success replicated across Victoria.

“Another win of the program is that the club members say they think their club is a better place as a result of making healthy changes. Regardless of whether they’re taking part in VicHealth’s Healthy Sporting Environments project or not, community sport clubs can look at how they operate and make small changes to their club that will make a big difference to the community.”

Results of the Geelong Healthy Sporting Environments demonstration project:

• 88% of clubs said their food offering was healthier as a result of the project, with canteens now offering at least 30% ‘green’ food choices rose from 35% to more than half (57%).

• Clubs said they would offer healthier food if there is demand.

• 70% of clubs introduced eight injury prevention strategies (up from 12%).

• 87% found it easy to improve UV protection, with temporary shade and sunscreen the most popular strategies. No clubs reported not doing anything about improving sun protection.

• Almost all of the clubs introduced new policies to become more welcoming and inclusive places.

• 76% agreed that a league-wide or statewide ruling restricting tobacco use on club premises would help to reduce smoking around the club.

• Measures to reduce alcohol use were a challenge. Replacing full-strength beer with mid-strength was not considered viable and raising the price of alcohol may lead to clubs becoming more dependent on alcohol revenue – however, many clubs already had Good Sports accreditation and did not need sweeping changes to their alcohol policies.

Click here to download a copy of the Health Sporting Environments Evaluation.




Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Solarwise NSW / Dolphin Tech were the first and are the largest Dolphin dealer in NSW with a full service facility and full range of spare parts "on the shelf". We also provide on site…

read more

Aquatics / Venues



AQUASPIN™ - Aqua Cycling Aquaspin™’s sessions have been specially designed by our Master Trainer to be challenging yet fun group cycling sessions. Each session is tailored to…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Recreation / Wellness


The Retention People Australia

TRP help health clubs, leisure centres and gyms across the globe create happy, loyal members through our user-friendly software which enables effective engagement and the delivery exceptional customer…

read more

Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology / Wellness



ICP is an Australian-based company focused on indoor climbing. ICP will manage your project from initial design to completion and beyond, whether you're building an international-level climbing…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation


Augmented Creative

Augmented Creative is an open organization of like-minded and highly dedicated, creative people who conceive, plan and execute visual solutions. We pursue new and innovative visual ideas to help…

read more

Arts / Attractions / Consultants / Design / Tourism


Endeavour Turf Professionals Pty Ltd

ETP Turf is a leading Australian specialty agronomic turf consultancy that supply a wide range of services and solutions for the professional turf market, Councils and sporting facilities. Our range…

read more

Consultants / Environment / Golf / Recreation / Sport



Over the past 10 years Debitsuccess has been providing expert billing services to businesses across Australia. Debitsuccess is now the largest full service direct debit provider in Australasia,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Golf / Recreation


Aflex Inflatables

Aflex Inflatables are the leaders for obstacle courses, pool toys, waterparks and land-based watersides and fitness runs. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business