Several Greater Shepparton City Council sport and recreation facilities are taking up the challenge to encourage patrons to drink water and healthy drinks through the VicHealth Water in Sport program.
In January 2018, Greater Shepparton City Council was one of eight selected councils to be awarded a grant from VicHealth to implement the ‘Water In Sport’ program. This program aims to improve access to and promote water and healthy drinks in all Council run sport and recreation facilities and in turn, make choosing a healthy drink the easy choice.
Council received funding to run the program in all council-run facilities. Greater Shepparton City Council Manager Active Living David Booth said the program focuses on small changes to encourage consumers to make healthier choices by simply changing the placement of particular drinks, or the products on offer. “The aim is not to remove peoples choices as such, however to guide them into making healthier choices and consume more water – making the healthy choice, the easy choice,” said Mr Booth.
The council-run facilities which will be part of the program and will have improved access to water and healthy drinks are SPC KidsTown, the Shepparton Sports Stadium, rural outdoor pools in Merrigum, Tatura, Mooroopna and Aquamoves Verve Café.
“Many sport and recreational facilities tend to offer drinks with added sugar through their canteens, kiosks and vending machines. Drinking water instead of these sugary sweetened beverages is not only better for health, but incredibly important for hydration before, during and after playing sport and being active,” said Mr Booth.
“Sugary drinks are currently the largest source of added sugars in the Australian diet. High consumption contributes to poor health, in particular, the increased risk of weight gain, some chronic diseases and an increased risk of tooth decay.”
In Greater Shepparton, 56.5% of residents are considered either overweight or obese, which is higher than the Victorian state average (50%)*. The proportion of children presenting with at least one decayed, missing or filled primary teeth (baby) or permanent (adult) tooth, attending public dental services for 0 – 5 years (46 per cent), 6 – 8 years (70 per cent), 9 – 12 years (67 per cent) and 13 – 17 years (74 per cent).**
“To add an extra dimension to the Water in Sport program Council is challenging HitGV radio host, Elly, to reduce her consumption of Coke Zero and increase her intake of water for one month,” said Mr Booth.
“Whilst Coke Zero is an artificially sweetened beverage and isn’t referred to as a ‘sugary sweetened beverage’ as such, the aim is still to increase Elly’s consumption of water and reduce her intake of Coke Zero.”
*Source: 2015 Local Government Area (LGA) Statistical Profile for Greater Shepparton, Department Health and Human Services
**Source: City of Greater Shepparton Oral Health Profile, Dental Health Services Victoria