16 Nov, 2010 Last updated: 29 Nov, 2014

One hundred sporting clubs from the Geelong region are set to become the healthiest in Australia, after being selected to take part in an Australia-first VicHealth initiative to create healthier and more inclusive sports.

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One hundred sporting clubs from the Geelong region are set to become the healthiest in Australia, after being selected to take part in an Australia-first VicHealth initiative to create healthier and more inclusive sports.

The 100 clubs, chosen from more than 1000, will come together in the Captains’ room at Kardinia Park on Thursday 18 November to celebrate and attend a briefing about the project.

With $2 million funding from VicHealth, Leisure Networks Association Inc. will implement the two-and-a-half year project by working with the clubs to reach healthy standards in the areas of: 

  •  healthy eating
  • responsible use of alcohol
  • protection from harmful effects of UV
  • injury prevention and management
  • reduced tobacco use;
  • and creating of safe and respectful environments for women and people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The selected clubs will be supported by Leisure Networks to achieve the six healthy standards through support, resources and training.

Healthy Sporting Environments Demonstration Project Manager, Linda Connor, said: “The commitment from these 100 clubs to make them healthy and respectful places for all members of the community has been inspiring and we are delighted to work with them. Community sporting clubs are in an ideal position to implement standards that create safe, inclusive and healthy environments for their members and the broader community.”

Peter Rankin president of Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club said that “Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club is very excited to be involved in the Healthy Sporting Environments Project.  We are a mixed gender club that runs programs to integrate culturally and linguistically diverse groups into the Surf Life Saving movement so this program is of specific interest.”

VicHealth CEO Todd Harper added: “This new program is about supporting sports clubs to identify parts of their culture they can improve, so that they are healthy, safe, welcoming places without too much emphasis on booze and fast food. We offer big congratulations to the 100 clubs that have been chosen, because what we learn from them will have future implications for local sports clubs across Victoria and the rest of Australia.”

Mr Harper added that results from VicHealth research conducted in 2009 showed three in four Victorians support a levy on alcohol and junk food advertising, provided the funds raised are used to replace alcohol and junk food sponsorship in community sports clubs.