NSW Health will lead by example when it phases out sugary drinks and introduces a healthy menu range in hospitals and healthcare clinics.
The move will be a first for any Australian state.
Swapping nutritionally poor menu items for healthy alternatives will
send an important message at a time when Australia is facing an obesity
epidemic, says Dr Kerry Chant, chief health officer of NSW Health.
"We are working toward a five percent reduction in overweight and obesity
rates in adults by 2020, and there's no better way to start than right
here on our own doorstep," says Dr Chant.
The most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal
63% of Australians are obese or overweight.
Healthy choices will make up at least 75% of the food offered, with vending machines, cafes and catering services expected to have their
Sugary drinks with no nutritional value will be phased out by December 2017. These include soft drinks, some flavoured waters, fruit drinks, cordials,
iced teas, energy drinks and sports drinks.
The initiative – part of the Healthy Choice in Health Facilities
policy framework – will be monitored annually after being implemented
by local health districts.
Similar programs have already been launched by local districts.
Murrumbidgee local health district (LHD) removed sugary drinks last
December, while Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains LHDs have also
started the process.