News State NSW News Sugary drinks being phased out of NSW health facilities in bid to curb obesity rates

Sugary drinks being phased out of NSW health facilities in bid to curb obesity rates

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Sugary drinks will be phased out of vending machines, cafes and catering services in NSW health facilities. Photo: Getty
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Sugary drinks will be phased out of vending machines, cafes and catering services in NSW health facilities by December as the State Government attempts to reduce obesity rates.

NSW Health said healthier options would be offered, as drinks with no nutritional value — mainly fizzy drinks — will be gone by December.

The move is part of a wider strategy aimed at staff.

NSW Health chief health officer Kerry Chant said the department would increase the availability of healthy foods and drinks to at least 75 per cent of what was offered.

“We are working toward a 5 per cent 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,” Dr Chant said.

Some local health districts (LHDs) are already on a healthier path, Murrumbidgee LHD removed drinks in December with Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains LHDs are in the process of removing sugary drinks.

In welcoming the initiative, lawyer with the George Institute for Global Health, Alexandra Jones, said it was about preventing illness not just treating it.

“Individuals are still free to bring these products into the premises if they wish, but it’s entirely appropriate that we shouldn’t be selling things that make people sick in a place where they come to get well,” Ms Jones said.

Professor of medicine and senior staff specialist in the Department of Endocrinology at St Vincent’s Hospital, Katherine Samaras, agreed healthier options are needed.

“Healthier choices are fundamental to good health and healthy food is some of the best medicine we can have,” Dr Samaras said.

The department said NSW was the first state to phase out sugary drinks.