The Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has applauded VicHealth’s partnership with Greater Shepparton City Council to give sugary drinks the flick and promote water as the drink of choice at local sport and recreation centres.
As a current VicHealth board member, Ms Lovell said she was proud Greater Shepparton City Council will share in over $500,000 in funding as part of VicHealth’s Water in Sport Initiative to reduce the availability and promotion of sugary drinks like soft drinks and sports drinks in kiosks and cafes at Victorian leisure centres and sports venues.
“The projects are being delivered in areas such as Greater Shepparton which unfortunately suffers from higher rates of sugary drink consumption, obesity or poor dental health. We know that too much sugar in our diet contributes to a range of major health issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay and stroke,” Ms Lovell said.
Ms Lovell said the average Australian eats 14 teaspoons of added sugar each day – most of that extra sugar comes from sugary drinks, such as sports and energy drinks. A standard 600ml sports drink contains a whopping 11 teaspoons of sugar.
“Unfortunately we constantly find a smorgasbord of these drinks at venues where children and families regularly play and watch sport. This sends an unhealthy message to our kids that sport and sugary drinks go hand in hand,” Ms Lovell said.
“We know that not all Victorians have the same opportunities to achieve good health – some communities like Greater Shepparton are doing it tougher than others.”
Ms Lovell said the new program would improve access to water and healthy drinks in local sport and recreation facilities in eight council areas across the state and she was pleased Greater Shepparton had joined the fight against obesity by making the healthy choice the easy choice in council-owned sport venues and leisure centres.
“Limiting the availability of sugary drinks at local sporting venues and facilities, particularly in disadvantaged communities will go a long way in improving the health of Victorians and encouraging healthy choices,” Ms Lovell said.