What’s on your plate? Blacktown receives food makeover

Left to right: Cr Bob Fitzgerald OAM; Dr Shopna Bag (Director Centre of Population Health) Western Sydney Local District Health); Mayor of Blacktown City, Tony Bleasdale OAM; Cr Dr Moninder Singh; Deputy Mayor of Blacktown, Chris Quilkey and Michelle Nolan (Director Health Promotion, Western Sydney Local District Health)

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has partnered with Blacktown City Council to launch a policy that will see healthier food and drink choices available in the Council’s five aquatic and leisure centres.

The policy means that patrons of these venues can expect 75% of kiosk menu items produced from whole foods (e.g., grains, vegetables and leans meats, etc.) alongside of recommended serve sizes of other menu items like processed food (e.g., pastries and confectionery items).

The collaboration has been more than two years in the making, with consultation of the Australian guide for healthy eating and local community research to find healthier options that patrons of the venues will enjoy.

Blacktown City Council’s aquatic and leisure centres are one of the first in NSW to implement a policy that encourages healthier food and drink choices.

The Mayor of Blacktown City, Tony Bleasdale OAM said, “By having healthier options on our menus, we are allowing our patrons to make smarter health choices for themselves and their families.”

“Good nutrition allows adults to have more energy, making it easier to stay fit and active. Children who eat well will also have energy for playing sports and activities, as well as helping them concentrate, learn, and supports growth and development,” Mayor Bleasdale said.

WSLHD’s Centre for Population Health Director, Dr Shopna Bag congratulated Council’s commitment to improving local food environments.

When this project commenced, we heard from nearly 600 Leisure Centre staff and visitors, with almost 60% reporting they wanted to be able to buy healthy food and drinks when they visited a Centre.

“WSLHD and Blacktown City Council are taking the lead in improving food choices importantly recognising that local community hubs such as Leisure Centres play a role not only in providing the opportunities for physical activity, but also in providing supportive environments that enable healthy choices to be made,” said Dr Bag.

New food and drink options will be rolled out across all of Blacktown’s aquatic and leisure centres, starting with Blacktown Leisure Centre Stanhope.