Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

Nutritional value of food and beverages consumed in community recreation centres (#206)

Tara Boelsen-Robinson 1 , Alexandra Chung 1 2 , Marianne Khalil 1 , Evelyn Wong 1 , Anna Peeters 1 2
  1. Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Prahran, VIC, Australia
  2. School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Aim: To assess the nutritional quality of food and beverage purchase and consumption by children and families across a sample of sport and recreation centres in metropolitan Melbourne, and examine differences by socioeconomic position.

Method: A 12-item verbal questionnaire was developed to ascertain food and beverage purchase and consumption behaviours of patrons attending four community recreation centres. Every third exiting patron was approached.  Visits were conducted during winter and summer, between 10am-6pm over a 20 day, non-consecutive period.  Classification of food and beverage items was done 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, and saturated fat, added sugar, salt, 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: 2,326 surveys were conducted. Refusal rates across centres was 37%.  Twelve percent of people consumed red food or beverages while at the centre, of which 65% of this was purchased at the sports and recreation centre. Overall, 50% of foods purchased at the centre were red, while 22% of food brought from home was classified as red. More than 20% of families visiting the centres purchased red food from the centre’s cafe or canteen. Around four in five adults who purchased red food at the centre had a child with them. 

Conclusion: Almost two-thirds of the red food and beverage items consumed at community recreational centres were purchased at these facilities. Thus, limiting the availability of discretionary food items at sports and recreation centres has the potential to reduce overall consumption of unhealthy food and beverages among the population, particularly families with children.