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OPC welcomes sugary drinks removal at Melbourne museums

Friday 8 November, 2019

Ground-breaking move will make sugary drinks a thing of the past

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) welcomed today’s announcement by Museums Victoria and VicHealth to phase out sugary drinks from all museums across Melbourne as an important step in tackling childhood obesity.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that with nearly a quarter of Victorian children above a healthy weight, the plan will give children a healthier start in life.

“These museums welcome 255,000 kindergarten, primary and secondary students through their doors each year, so it’s great to see these venues putting children’s health first.”

“It’s comforting to know that children can visit Scienceworks to learn about the workings of the human body, without then gulping down up to 16 teaspoons of sugar in a single soft drink.”

“Sugary drinks are the largest contributor of added sugar in Australians’ diets and are a key contributor to unhealthy weight gain and tooth decay. They have no place in children’s diets and certainly not in public spaces regularly frequented by children.”

Under the plan, sugary drinks will be phased out of café spaces across Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum, with vending machines phased out altogether and new water fountains installed across all three sites.

Ms Martin praised the plan and said parents and teachers alike will be able to enjoy Melbourne’s museums without worrying about battling pester power when children spot sugary drinks in the café or vending machines.    

“It’s so hard to escape the relentless marketing and availability of sugary drinks, which is why we need to start by removing them from places popular with families.”

“We’re pleased at the stand Museums Victoria is taking and we look forward to seeing other venues following suit to protect children and to support them to have a healthier start in life.”

The move follows the establishment of a new Childhood Obesity Prevention Taskforce last month by the Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos to develop and implement new ways to reduce childhood obesity.

“Today’s announcement shows the Victorian Government is serious about tackling childhood obesity, putting kids’ health first,” Ms Martin said.