Heywood Rural Health says 'No' to sugary drinks

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Tuesday, 7 June 2016
In a Victorian first Heywood Rural Health has joined with other health services across the South-west to discontinue the sale of sugary drinks at its campuses.

Heywood Rural Health says ‘no’ to sugary drinks.

Health Services across the South West have taken a world leading step to address growing levels of obesity by discontinuing the sale of sugary drinks at their campuses, from Geelong right through to Warrnambool and Portland in the south and Hamilton in the north. Thirteen South West Victorian Health Services are taking this transformational step to show leadership and encourage other public and private sector organisations to support healthier options.

The changes will take place progressively over the next two years, as existing contracts with suppliers expire and stock is exhausted.Statistics show that Australia’s consumption of soft drinks and sports drinks is amongst the highest in the world, with a study in 2012 revealing that 1.28 billion litres of sugary drinks were consumed over a 12 month period. In November last year, Western District Health Service (WDHS) was the first health service in Australia to remove sugary drinks from sale as part of ‘GenR8 Change’, a community movement addressing rising levels of obesity in the Southern Grampians Shire.

After successfully commencing the initiative at Western District Health Service (WDHS) other health services were encouraged to ‘defy gravity’ and make the change as it was vital that community leaders and organisations support people to make healthier choices. Statistics show that Australia’s consumption of soft drinks and sports drinks is amongst the highest in the world, with a study in 2012 revealing that 1.28 billion litres of sugary drinks were consumed over a 12 month period.

Heywood Rural Health has now joined the campaign, commencing with a comprehensive consultation campaign aimed at supporting and educating staff and community members on just how much sugar there is in soft drinks and energy / sports drinks and the detrimental effects on health and lifestyle associated with sugary drink overconsumption. Heywood Rural Health’s CEO, Jackie Kelly says that our message is consistent with the Rethink Sugary Drinks campaign, supported by organisations including the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia, Heart Foundation, Australian Dental Association and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention. Heywood Rural Health recognise that people have a right to choose, but as leaders of our community we need to support people to make better, healthier choices, because the long term implications and health impacts, particularly for children are significant.

As an organisation we are proud to support this initiative and just one example of how individuals and organisations, big and small, can and must work together within their areas of influence to make the change they want to see in their communities,” Ms Kelly said. Media enquiries: Jackie Kelly