Wa­ter­ing down sugar risk

McIvor Times - - NEWS -

THE CITY of Greater Bendigo will re­ceive a share of $500,000 worth of fund­ing as part of VicHealth’s Wa­ter in Sport Ini­tia­tive.

The Wa­ter in Sport Ini­tia­tive is an at­tempt to drive down the sales of sug­ary drinks at sub­ur­ban sport­ing grounds and re­place them with wa­ter.

The move comes as an in­ter­est grows in a sugar tax to com­bat obe­sity.

A study con­ducted in 2010 by the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices showed 57 per cent of peo­ple in Greater Bendigo were over­weight or obese.

This was a worse per­cent­age of over­weight per­sons than any other re­gional cen­tre in­clud­ing Mil­dura, Wodonga, Greater Gee­long, La­trobe, Greater Shep­par­ton and Bal­larat.

Five years later a Greater Bendigo Well­be­ing Sur­vey — which was based on sel­f­re­port­ing — sug­gested 46.1 per cent of peo­ple in the Heath­cote and Dis­trict area be­lieve they are over­weight or obese.

VicHealth chief ex­ec­u­tive Jer­rill Rechter said the pro­ject is an at­tempt to turn these tides.

“We know that too much sugar in our diet con­trib­utes to a range of ma­jor health is­sues like obe­sity, type 2 di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, tooth de­cay and stroke,” Ms Rechter said.

“The av­er­age Aus­tralian eats 14 tea­spoons of added sugar each day — most of that ex­tra sugar comes from sug­ary drinks, such as sports and en­ergy drinks. A stan­dard 600ml sports drink con­tains a whop­ping 11 tea­spoons of sugar.

“Un­for­tu­nately we con­stantly find a smor­gas­bord of these drinks at venues where chil­dren and fam­i­lies reg­u­larly play and watch sport.”

City of Greater Bendigo Ac­tive and Health and Life­styles Man­ager Lin­coln Fitzger­ald said the fund­ing will be used to pro­mote wa­ter as the drink of choice at a min­i­mum of 10 City owned venues.

“We will also be work­ing with lo­cal clubs and groups to im­ple­ment the pro­gram on a wider ba­sis,” Mr Fitzger­ald said.

Heath­cote Health chief ex­ec­u­tive Dan Dou­glass said he sup­ports the move to­wards build­ing sport­ing clubs that are wary of health risks.

‘‘Obe­sity is an is­sue for ev­ery com­mu­nity mem­ber and is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of ev­ery com­mu­nity leader to im­ple­ment ac­tiv­i­ties that sup­port good food and drink choices.’’

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