Taking sugary drinks off the menu

Article image - Taking sugary drinks off the menu Promoting water as the drink of choice at Arthur Mawson Children’s Centre, Shepparton, where participants learn how many teaspoons of sugar are in popular drinks.

Eight Victorian councils are teaming up with health promotion foundation VicHealth to give sugary drinks the flick and promote water as the drink of choice at local sport and recreation centres.

East Gippsland Shire Council, Frankston City Council, City of Greater Geelong, City of Greater Bendigo, Greater Shepparton City Council, Melton City Council, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Yarra Ranges Council will share in over $500,000 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.

VicHealth Chief Executive Officer, Jerril Rechter, said the projects are being delivered in areas with higher rates of sugary drink consumption, obesity or poor dental health.

“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 Rechter 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.

“We’re so pleased to have these councils joining us in the fight against obesity by making the healthy choice the easy choice in council-owned sport venues and leisure centres,” Ms Rechter said.