Healthy Communities - Healthy Eating
Why is healthy eating important?
Most Australians understand why it’s important to eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Healthy eating can prevent the development of obesity and the chronic diseases associated with it. More recently we have also begun to understand the positive impact that healthy eating can have on our mental health.
What are we doing?
The Healthy Communities team understands that the food decisions we make are not just down to individual choices. There are a range of different factors which can impact our diet such as the affordability and availability of fresh fruit, vegetables and drinking water.
Our team aims to address all of the barriers which prevent people from eating a healthy well-balanced diet. We work to improve Healthy Eating in the following areas:
Reducing sugar sweetened beverages
The Healthy Communities team aims to make water the main choice of beverage. Sugar Sweetened Beverages include sugar-sweetened soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, ready-to-drink iced tea, flavoured water and cordial.
In 2017, we developed H2Only Schools – an initiative aimed at removing sugary drinks at schools in the Geelong region and ensuring children are only drinking water at school.
Over one third of schools in the Geelong region are now H2Only schools.
See the results from H2Only Schools in our infographic here.
Choose Water this Summer
The "Choose Water This Summer" campaign is a collaboration between G21 (Geelong Regional Alliance), councils, and partners in the South West Victoria region. The aim of the campaign is to utilise social media platforms, as well as various communication tools to encourage water as the drink of choice in the G21 region this summer, and promote health and wellbeing by encouraging and supporting healthy behaviours.
Why is water the best drink for good health?
Water is the best choice for keeping the body hydrated. It has no added sugar, no kilojoules and is not fizzy, so is much better for your teeth and the waistline. Soft drinks are highly acidic and this, along with high levels of added sugar, can damage teeth and lead to tooth decay.
Drinking soft drinks and other drinks with added sugar, can lead to putting on excess weight or becoming obese, and this may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and same cancers (ABS 2014).
Keeping the body hydrated is essential for good health. Dehydration can lead to feelings of tiredness, thirst, weakness, lethargy, the senses become weak and psychological reaction times will be impaired.
Water is the best choice for hydration and therefore swapping sugary drinks for water can help to improve health and wellbeing for everyone (WHO 2015).
- Choose Water this Summer
- Water is the healthiest option
- Stay healthy, stay hydrated
- If you are concerned about your weight or wanting to stay at a healthy weight, every soft drink you drink adds excess kilojoules. Swap from soft drink to water to reduce your kilojoules to zero!
- Being a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
- Drink water to look after your teeth. Soft drinks are acidic and can cause tooth decay. Diet soft drinks are just as acidic, therefore have the same effect on tooth decay. Choose water to keep your healthy glowing smile!
- Hydration helps improve energy levels and brain function.
- Save money - water from the tap is free so every time you choose water you save money!
- Water helps to maximise physical performance - Water is the best drink for re hydrating while playing all sport activity lasting less than 90 minutes. Sports drinks are only useful if you are exercising at an elite sports level (extreme marathon etc.) for 90 minutes or more, so choose water during most sports activities.
- Consumption of sugar is at an all-time high - Soft drinks can contain around 16 teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml bottle!
How can you support this campaign?
The Choose Water team have developed posters, social media images and a guide for how to use them. The resources can be accessed here. Please post, print and display where approrpiate and use the hashtag #CHOOSEWATERTHISSUMMER
Increasing vegetable consumption
The Healthy Communities team are currently planning with other organisations to increase vegetable consumption across our region. We also work in this area with our Community Kitchens program. See more about the Community Kitchens program here.
We also work to improve the health of our staff and visitors across Barwon Health sites. Healthy Choices is a set of guidelines created by the Victorian Government. The guidelines are a traffic light system to classify foods and drinks as:
In 2014, we applied the Healthy Choices at our Barwon Health University Hospital Geelong and the McKellar Centre. We labelled all the food and drinks in the cafes and vending machines according to their nutritional value.
In 2017, we took our exciting results and made these infographics.
Last Modified: Monday, 04 March 2019