Children who take part in junior sport activities could soon be rewarded with healthy alternatives to junk food vouchers under a program being rolled out in Bendigo.
The City of Greater Bendigo is supporting the new Healthy Sports Rewards initiative from VicHealth, as one of five councils involved in a new state-wide program.
The initiative will see junior sports clubs replace current junk food offerings for award winners with healthy activities such as free passes to Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre, Peter Krenz Leisure Centre and free court hire for the Bendigo Tennis Centre.
City of Greater Bendigo Active and Healthy Lifestyles team member Matt Kerlin said the Healthy Sports Rewards initiative is a positive way for local clubs to award young players with healthy options instead of junk food.
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"It is important for fast-food and takeaway vouchers to be replaced with healthy alternatives to ensure children continue to reap the rewards of their participation in junior sport."
VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said the health and wellbeing of children should be put above junk food companies' profits.
"Families are telling us they want healthier rewards for their children. We're excited to partner with local Victorian councils to work towards making healthy and fun rewards the norm in junior sport."
The Healthy Sports Reward initiative follows VicHealth and Deakin University research which shows two-thirds of parents think childrens' sports rewards should be healthy.
Among the 500 Victorian parents surveyed, half said their children had received a voucher from a large fast-food company at their sports club, and 42 per cent had received one for a local fast-food outlet.
About 65 per cent of families ended up spending more than the voucher amount when redeeming it.
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