Port Augusta promotes water as a healthy choice

Port Augusta Council in conjunction with the South Australian and Federal Governments launched its ‘Water – the original cool drink’ campaign in February this year to encourage local residents to drink healthy products.

Council aims to make local residents aware of water as a healthy alternative to sugary, sweetened drinks. The campaign will see Council consider options such as making clean bottle filling facilities available in public spaces, providing cool water as the main drink at community events, and working with early childhood literacy programs to include health messages in fun educational activities.

Port Augusta Mayor Joy Baluch said water is the best drink for everyone.

“Water is the only drink that truly quenches your thirst on a hot day and is totally healthy for you,” she said.“Water should be the drink of choice for children and adults.”

The South Australian Health Minister John Hill agrees.

“Soft drinks, cordial, sports drinks and energy drinks all contain sugar, as well as caffeine, which can lead to tooth decay and weight gain if people overdo it,” he said. The Minister said it’s not just residents’ health that will benefit, but also their hip pockets.

“Dental treatment is one of the most common reasons for South Australian children having to undergo a general anaesthetic in hospital, not to mention the effect of sweet drinks on children’s weight, and on family budgets,” he said.

The campaign runs as part of the Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (OPAL) program.

This five year, $22.3 million OPAL program tackles childhood obesity and aims to promote healthier options for children and their families. Port Augusta City Council joins Marion, Mt Gambier, Onkaparinga, Playford and Salisbury Councils as the first of 20 South Australian councils who will host the OPAL Initiative by 2012.

OPAL offers a flexible approach to address local needs, and it recognises Local Government as the hub of the community. In Port Augusta the staff are working with many agencies including schools and childcare centres to facilitate healthy food and drink policies, community gardens and staff training.

For further information about the OPAL initiatives in Port Augusta contact Camilla Leaver at Port Augusta Council on (08) 8641 9104.