New push to make water drink of choice

Health promotion foundation VicHealth is seeking to give sugary drinks the boot and make water the preferred beverage at local sport and recreation venues with $500,000 in new funding up for grabs.

VicHealth’s new Water in Sport initiative will fund up to nine local councils to promote healthy drink options and reduce the availability and promotion of sugary drinks like soft drinks and sports drinks in kiosks and cafes at Victorian leisure centres and sports venues.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said the new program would focus on children and would be delivered in areas with high rates of sugary drink consumption, obesity and poor dental health.

“Sugary drinks, including sports and energy drinks, are the largest source of added sugars in the Australian diet. A standard 600ml sports drink has a whopping 11 teaspoons of sugar,” Rechter said.

“Unfortunately 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 sugary drinks go hand in hand.

“We know that not all Victorians have the same opportunities to achieve good health—some communities are doing it tougher than others,” Rechter added.

“That’s why we’ll be prioritising working with councils where data shows there are high levels of sugary drink consumption and poor health.”

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