Last updated: 08 Nov, 2019

Children across Victoria will enjoy healthier drink options at all Museums Victoria venues as soon as next month, as part of a groundbreaking new initiative from Museums Victoria and VicHealth to improve the health and wellbeing of young children.

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos welcomed the partnership at the Melbourne Museum today. Last month, the Minister invited VicHealth to establish a Childhood Obesity Taskforce to develop and implement new ways to reduce childhood obesity.

Under the plan, sugary drinks will be phased out of café spaces across Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum, with the support of catering partner Restaurant Associates. Vending machines will be removed altogether and new water fountains will be installed across all three sites.

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said: “This announcement sends a strong message to the community about putting the health of children and young people first.
“We want to make sure healthy options are more readily available to all Victorians and to support our kids to develop healthy habits early in life.”

Nearly a quarter of Victorian children are struggling to maintain a healthy weight and there’s a clear link between regular sugary drink consumption, weight gain and poor dental health.

Museums Victoria is a leading educational destination, with 255,000 kindergarten, primary and secondary students visiting their museums each year.

Museums Victoria CEO Lynley Crosswell said this is an important step towards improving child health and wellbeing.

“This joint initiative with VicHealth allows us to work towards improving child health in a practical way.”

“We hope to encourage other organisations to adopt similar strategies that support Victorian children and set new standards for venues across Victoria to put the health and wellbeing of kids first.”

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said: “This is great news for children, parents and teachers, who will now have healthier options when visiting Melbourne’s museums. A standard 600ml bottle of soft drink contains up to 16 teaspoons of sugar. These drinks have no place in kids’ venues.

“It’s exciting to see Museums Victoria taking such a leadership position to improve the healthy drinks options available to the quarter of a million children and their families who visit these iconic venues every year,” said Dr Demaio.

Museums Victoria will complement this strategy with a suite of future programs developed in collaboration with VicHealth.

The VicHealth Childhood Obesity Prevention Taskforce will bring together young people, representatives across health services, community groups, not-for-profits, parents’ groups, academics, sporting groups and peak bodies to ask the tough questions, find innovative ways to address childhood obesity, and to improve the health of Victoria’s young people.

Media Contact:

Imogen Baratta,  VicHealth Acting Senior Media Advisor on 03 9667 1319, 0435 761 732 or  [email protected]