Health tick for sugary drink drop

By Ewen McRae

Melton sporting centres are embracing a program that encourages residents to drink more water and stay away from sugary drinks.

Melton Waves Leisure Centre, Caroline Springs Leisure Centre and Melton Indoor Recreation Centre have for the past 12 months been part of a VicHealth Water in Sport initiative to improve access to water.

The program aims to help change attitudes and preferences so that the community favours healthy drink options, particularly water, over unhealthy, sugary soft drinks.

It also targets moderately unhealthy drinks such as fruit juice and full-fat dairy products which should only be consumed occasionally.

Melton council said the program has resulted in a 33 per cent reduction in the availability of unhealthy drinks at the participating centres.

Mayor Bob Turner said the council was proud to be part of the program, and praised the outlets for embracing it.

“It’s encouraging to see council and these sporting centres working together to proactively target unhealthy drinks,” Cr Turner said.

“With the number of overweight and obese people in the City of Melton above the national average, we know how important it is for council to play a role in helping our community create healthy habits.

“Making water and reduced-fat milks more prominent at local sporting centres normalises the consumption of healthy options as the logical and easy choice for everyone.”

The initiative has resulted in an overall 33 per cent drop in the availability of the most unhealthy drinks, such as sugary soft drinks, at the centres.

Meanwhile, healthy drinks such as water and reduced-fat milks are 28 per cent more available across the venues.

Some of the most impressive results came from Melton Waves where the availability of unhealthy drinks was cut by 42 per cent overall and one of the fridges is now only stocked with water.

Caroline Springs Leisure Centre is also leading the way with 58 per cent of its fridge now filled with healthy drinks.