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 is a range of different factors which can impact our diets 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 Everday
The "Choose Water Every Day" 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 some 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).
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 appropriate and use the hashtag #CHOOSEWATEREVERYDAY
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: Friday, 19 July 2019