5 Dec 2018

Healthier food options will increase at Christchurch pools, recreation centres and events if a new policy is adopted by Christchurch City Council.

The Social, Community Development and Housing Committee has today recommended that the Council adopts a Healthy Food and Drink Policy.

Healthy Food and Drink Policy

A Council committee is recommending the Council adopt a Healthy Food and Drink Policy.

It says the policy should be introduced at Council facilities from 1 April next year and at Council-run events on a staged basis starting with a trial at Children’s Day in March.

The policy would see a wider range of healthy food and beverage options made available at Council facilities and events.

If the Council follows the Committee’s recommendation, it would be acting in line with other public agencies, including the Canterbury District Health Board which introduced a Healthy Food and Beverage Policy in December 2017.

Social, Community Development and Housing Committee Chair Phil Clearwater says the Council has a responsibility to act in a way that promotes the health and well-being of residents.

“If we’re promoting healthy lifestyles, such as good diet and regular exercise, at our recreation centres and pools and at our family-friendly events, then it’s a mixed message to be selling high volumes of junk food and sugary drinks at those venues.

“By making it easier for people to buy healthy food and drinks when they’re using our facilities or enjoying our events the Council can have a positive influence on our communities.”

A staff report into the proposed policy says it should be staged and “not prescriptive” with an emphasis on reducing rather than eliminating less healthy options. Families would still be able to buy icecreams at Council pools.

Relatively minor and simple changes were thought to be needed to improve the overall healthiness of the food currently sold.

The removal of sugary drinks would be a priority and Council staff proposed a start date of 1 April 2019 for the phased reduction of these at Council events.

The report says that when other councils have adopted similar policies residents are usually supportive if there is a variety of healthy food alternatives on offer.