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VenuesWest combats obesity concerns

January 11, 2013
A major study of users of two of Perth's busiest aquatic, recreation and sport facilities has revealed that 83% of people are worried about the issue of childhood obesity in Australia.
Of the whole sample, 19% of the respondents are worried about the issue of childhood obesity in their own homes.
VenuesWest's Arena Joondalup and Challenge Stadium see almost 2,000,000 visitors each year and surveyed their customer base to understand the major health concerns affecting users.
The survey showed 85.5% of people think major public facilities should be taking steps with food choices to counter obesity.
While the majority of respondents identify poor eating and lack of exercise as the major causes of obesity, 70% also rated emotional eating (eating when depressed, stress, state of mind and the like) as a cause.
Food companies (food manufacturers and eating places) have a responsibility to offer healthy food options according to 86% of respondents and 75% believed these organisations can help prevent obesity.
Obesity specific health programs were needed in public venues according to more than 50% of those surveyed.
According to VenuesWest Chairman Graham Partridge VenuesWest venues had commenced changing how it delivered food and beverage services in 2009.
Partridge explained "the core problem facing major venues is that they are places where people's consumption habits are based on rewarding themselves.
"When people go and see a show or a sporting event, or when they have just exercised or competed, they often treat themselves. Venues need to fundamentally change this behavior.
"When VenuesWest initially began changing its café food some of the green choices' were just getting left behind."
"It's taken more than two years working with the WA School Canteen Association and Healthway to gradually change behavior."
"The big thing we are learning is that change does not happen overnight and that people seem to want to make better choices and the role of major venues is to make more and more healthy offerings available and slowly reduce the availability of unhealthy choices."
When VenuesWest started the process the sales of green foods in its flagship venue Challenge Stadium was less than 10% and this number probably reflected most major venues' sales.
Now that number is 40% and that has been based on evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes.
Partrideg adds "there is no doubt from our research that customer demand is also changing and that Western Australians are more conscious about their food choices and the choices of their children than ever before.
"I think over the next decade Western Australian major venue menu choices will be a world away from what they were in the 90s."
VenuesWest is Western Australia's provider of premier sports, recreation and entertainment venues and its growing portfolio includes Perth Arena, Challenge Stadium, Arena Joondalup, WA Athletics Stadium, WA Basketball Centre, Midvale Speeddome, Perth Motorplex, Champion Lakes Regatta Centre and the WA Rugby Centre, nib Stadium with the State Netball Centre in the planning phase.

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