Opinion piece by Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO
First published in the Geelong Independent, 22 September 2017
I congratulate the City of Greater Geelong for its plan to remove sugary drinks from all council and community-operated sport venues and facilities by the end of 2019.
It was great to learn that vending machines at community facilities and council worksites would have healthy drinks as up to 80 per cent of options.
Sugary drinks, including sports and energy drinks, are the largest source of added sugars in the Australian diet. A regular 600ml bottle of soft drink contains a whopping 16 teaspoons of sugar, with around 11 in a sports drink.
Sadly, 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 soft drinks go hand in hand.
Removing sugary drinks at local sporting grounds and facilities will go a long way in improving the health of Geelong locals and encouraging healthy choices.
VicHealth research also shows that when businesses promote healthier food and drink options there is no decline in profits.
I hope to see other local councils across Victoria follow Geelong's lead.
Jerril Rechter, CEO VicHealth