YMCA Victoria has made its own commitment to work with government and our suppliers to remove all sugar sweetened beverages from YMCA managed community recreation centres and camps by 2017.
What is the issue?
In Australia 47% of children consume sugar sweetened beverages every day.
Furthermore, 12% of Victorian adults drink a soft drink every day. And in the local government areas of Mildura, Colac and Pyrenees, which have the largest soft drink habits in Victoria, almost 20% of their population drinks soft drink every day.
There is strong evidence that consumption of soft drinks contributes to significant levels of tooth decay and erosion in children. Of course, consuming too much sugar is a major contributor to people becoming overweight or obese. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
What do we know?
YMCA Victoria sells 374,000 sugar sweetened beverages a year. This equates to 14.4 tonnes of sugar. With 16 million visits to YMCA facilities per year, a large proportion of which is children, we are in a position to positively influence the eating behaviours of children and families through improving the food and drinks we provide.
A Government-led ban across all local government areas in Victoria would significantly reduce exposure and access to sugary drinks and increase water consumption across the state, with the potential to have a positive impact on the health of all Victorians.
What can be done?
YMCA Victoria is calling for Government to take a leadership role and remove all sugar sweetened beverages in facilities funded through taxpayer dollars.
If sugary drinks were banned in other government owned and funded sport and recreation facilities, it would send the unambiguous signal of the importance of a healthy diet alongside physical activity.
It would also position Victoria as a world leader in the fight against obesity with the potential to have profound impact on public health.
Just as Victoria led the world in health prevention throughout the past thirty years – we believe this is a critical next step.
This ground breaking public health measure has the potential for huge gains in the health and wellbeing of all Victorians.