Last updated: 05 Jun, 2017

Opinion piece by Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO

First published in the Geelong Advertiser on 3 June

Congratulations to Barwon Health for phasing out all sugary drinks from vending machines and cafeterias across each of its sites ('Soft drinks lose sparkle' GA, 1/6).Jerril Rechter

Hospitals and health services have a key role in keeping our community healthy and we know there is absolutely nothing healthy about sugary drinks.

"Sugary drinks are packed with empty kilojoules, adding to our waistlines but not providing us with any nutritional value. And sadly we're addicted to them."

One in nine Victorians drink sugary drinks every day - they are the largest source of added sugars in our diet.

Removing sugary beverages and replacing them with water in public places - like hospitals - is an important part of creating healthier environments for Victorians. It's fantastic to see Barwon Health supporting its patients to make healthier choices.

VicHealth is passionate about getting more Victorians active and eating well to enable them to live happier and healthier lives. By 2023 we're aiming to get 200,000 more Victorians eating a healthier diet and in particular, to see people choosing water and healthy food options over soft drink and takeaway foods.

I commend Barwon Health for demonstrating how the healthy choice can be made the easy choice. I hope to see other health services across Victoria follow its lead.

Jerril Rechter, CEO VicHealth