The VicHealth Water Initiative is an integrated program of work with the goal of more Victorians choosing water instead of drinks with added sugar.
The two risk factors that account for the most disease burden in Australia are dietary risks and high BMI. Victorians consume high levels of sugary drinks. Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugars in the Australian diet, and contribute directly to risk of weight gain. High intake of these sugary drinks are associated with poorer health outcomes, such as increased risk of weight gain and increased risk of tooth decay. With nearly two-thirds of Victorians currently overweight or obese, reducing intake of excess kilojoules through drinks is one way to promote a healthier diet and improved health.
The Water Initiative aligns with the VicHealth Action Agenda for Health Promotion strategic imperative to promote healthy eating, and its three year priority to see more people choosing water and healthy food options.
Within the Water Initiative, VicHealth will undertake both supply and demand activities, including:
- The H30 Challenge social marketing campaign encouraging Victorians to switch sugary drinks for water for 30 days
- Roll-out of well designed and well located water fountains in the City of Melbourne to test whether including a bottle refill functionality on fountains, and the location of fountains, increases access and use.
- Research informing the development of evidence-based approaches and/or best practice guidelines for the provision of water in specific settings