Aim: To assess the nutritional value of food and beverages available for purchase at a sample of sport and recreation centres in metropolitan Melbourne, prior to the introduction of policies to reduce the proportion of unhealthy foods available for purchase.
Method: We took photographs of food and beverages available for purchase at 14 community recreation centres. An audit of these photographs classified food and beverage items according to the Healthy Together Victoria Healthy Choices Food and Drink Classification Guide. This uses a traffic light coding system based on the presence of important nutrients, saturated fat, added sugar and salt, as well as energy content and fibre content. Green options are the healthiest choice, amber items should be consumed in moderation, and red options should be consumed rarely.
Results: On average,70% of food and beverage items available at the sport and recreation centre cafes and kiosks were red items, and approximately 16% were green. Approximately 83% of items in vending machines and approximately 67% of items in cafes or kiosks were considered red. 79% of advertised products were rated as red. The proportion of red foods and beverages offered at the recreation centres varied from 50-90%.
Conclusion: Patrons and staff of sport and recreation centres are exposed to high levels of unhealthy food and beverages. There is opportunity for the centres to promote healthy eating and reduce overall consumption of unhealthy food and beverages among the population.