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Healthier food and drink options introduced at East Gippsland Council sport and recreation facilities
East Gippsland Shire Council has teamed up with VicHealth and seven other Victorian councils to support the ‘Water in Sport’ project, which aims to promote water as the drink of choice in sports while reducing the availability and promotion of sugary drinks like soft drinks and sports drinks.
Almost double the number of East Gippsland residents consume soft drinks daily (19%) when compared to the Victorian average (11%).
Sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, tooth decay and increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as other diseases associated with being overweight or obese such as heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and some cancers.
54% of East Gippsland residents are either overweight or obese, compared to 50% statewide.
Shire officers distributed surveys developed by Deakin University to sport and recreation members and visitors in July 2018 to understand customers’ perspectives on the current food and drink options available.
Mayor Natalie O’Connell said Council was pleased to receive 156 responses, advising "three quarters of respondents strongly agreed that the East Gippsland community needs to implement changes to reduce sugary drink consumption.
“A notable 88% ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that sport and recreation facilities have a responsibility to promote healthy eating. If sugary drinks were removed from sale, 44% of people who bought drinks stated they would simply buy another type of drink instead.”
When asked what sport and recreation facilities should do to help reduce the consumption of sugary drinks:
• 51% supported removing all sugary drinks from sale.
• 49% supported reducing the price of water.
• 43% supported limiting the amount of sugary drinks from sale.
Mayor O’Connell “sport and recreation facilities have a responsibility to promote health and wellbeing. We know that healthy eating, together with physical activity, is essential to keeping us healthy.
“Over the next 12 months or so, you will see some promising changes to East Gippsland sport and recreation facility kiosks. Changes have begun at Lakes Entrance Aquadome, the outdoor pools in Bairnsdale and Orbost will have some healthier options offered this summer, and when the Bairnsdale Aquatic and Recreation Centre re-opens its café next year there will be a variety of healthy choices on offer.”
The menus will be classified according to the Victorian Government’s Healthy Choices Guidelines using a ‘traffic light system’ with food and drinks labelled either green (best choice), amber (choose carefully) or red (limit) based on their nutritional value. The clear labelling will make it easier for customers to make a healthy choice.
Image: Water is the winner every time for East Gippsland Shire Council recreation centre staff Sam Stephenson, Claire Duguid and Scott Ager
26th February 2018 - Western Leisure Services introduce innovative healthy eating menus
24th January 2018 - 200,000 water bottles refilled in MSAC water conservation initiative
12th April 2017 - Junk food constitutes majority of purchases from swimming pool kiosks
29th July 2016 - Sugary drinks dropped from Auckland Council leisure centres
14th April 2016 - YMCA Australia backs calls for taxes on sugary drinks
11th November 2015 - Darebin City Council healthy food options get YMCA backing
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