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In early 2017, Monash University, Deakin University, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and YMCA Victoria published a study revealing a majority of what kids purchased to eat and drink from swimming pools and recreation centre cafes and kiosks was junk.

In excellent news, YMCA Victoria has officially stopped selling sugar-sweetened beverages at 38 of their aquatic and recreation centres cafes and kiosks. Hooray!

We recently reported on inspiring actions like this being undertaken across Australia, including a trial by the YMCA Victoria for reducing sugary drinks from sale.

The trial resulted in declining sales of these products, but the bottom line of the cafes and kiosks were not affected as people appear to make healthier choices instead.

A major concern for excess sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is its association with various health issues, including obesity.

While the causes of overweight and obesity are multifactorial and complex, the association between weight gain and slamming back high energy, nutrient-poor sugary drinks can be whittled down to the fact it is very easy to consume a lot in one sitting.

Drinks do not fill you up. Very quickly one can consume 16 teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml soft drink and still be hungry afterwards.

In a press release, YMCA Victoria stated there are 17 million visits to their facilities every year, including 58,000 children who attend swimming lessons each week. Therefore, they have an opportunity to have a wide-reaching, positive impact on the health of their local community.

“We are in the position to positively influence the eating behaviours and preferences of children and families through the food and drinks we provide,” said YMCA Advocacy Manager Ari Kurzeme. “By removing sugary drinks, we have the opportunity to impact the health of kids in the communities we work with.

“Before our policy, we were putting 28 tonnes of sugar into the Australian community each year through the sales of sugar-sweetened beverages. Providing healthier alternatives and promoting water as the drink of choice means kids will no longer be gulping down a 600 ml sports drink, containing 9 teaspoons of sugar, after a swim or a game at a YMCA.”

Well done, YMCA!

By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med)

 

References:

  1. Boelsen-Robinson, T, Chung, A, Wong, E, Peeters, A, Khalil, M, & Kurzeme, A 2017, ‘Examining the nutritional quality of food and beverage consumed at Melbourne aquatic and recreation centres’, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 184-186.