Junk food companies have no business sponsoring kids’ sport. VicHealth has found a solution.
Victorian health promotion agency VicHealth is partnering with several local councils in the Healthy Sports Reward initiative, replacing vouchers for fast food and takeaway with healthy activities, like free or discounted access to a local pool or tennis court. This is a great way to provide families with the chance to enjoy local community activities and to show that unhealthy food isn’t the only way to reward kids’ for playing sport.
Our three complaints about unhealthy food vouchers given out to the ‘player of the day’ were successfully upheld. Despite industry standards discouraging junk food rewards, our complaints show that this is unfortunately still a common practice.
Unhealthy sponsorship has infiltrated all levels of sport include elite sports such as the cricket, rugby league, the Tokyo Olympics and Australian rules as well as children’s sports programs. Cancer Council NSW research in 2016 found ten of the eleven food, beverage and alcohol sponsors of junior development programs were unhealthy.
To make healthy sponsorship the norm across Victoria, VicHealth requires any sporting club applying for VicHealth funding to complete a harmful industry relationship declaration. We’d love to see a similar initiative here in NSW.