Posted 03/11/21 1 mins read

Common barriers to implementing healthy changes

Food display case with sandwiches

What people eat is strongly influenced by their local food environments and sport and rec facilities are an important environment for encouraging and influencing people toward healthier options. Despite this, data has shown that unhealthy food environments exist in many sport and rec facilities.

“Research has found that unhealthy foods and drinks are more readily available and purchased more frequently than healthier options”*

Most common barriers

According to research conducted in Victoria, “support from key stakeholders such as leadership” was one of the “key enablers in implementing healthy changes”*. The research also tells us that the most common barriers are:

  • Inadequate time to implement changes
  • Inability to source healthy alternatives
  • Suppliers not able or willing to provide healthier alternatives

Has your organisation experienced similar challenges? HEAS can help! Making changes doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive. We can support you in identifying priorities and small changes for big impact. We have lots of FREE resources to help you get started!

Fast tips to get started

Example 1 – Healthy vending

If your organisation has a vending machine/s start by:

Example 2 – Simple changes to food retail

If your organisation has a retail outlet, start with changing the way that foods and drinks are promoted and marketed:

  • In drinks fridges, reduce the RED options to less than 20%
  • Put RED foods and drinks in the least visible positions in all fridges and cabinets (and place healthier options in prominent places instead!)
  • Avoid upsizing or upselling RED options (such as 2-for-1 deals or supersizing)
  • Avoid including RED foods and drinks in meal deals and specials
  • Avoid free refills of sugary drinks
  • Make sure healthier GREEN items are available during all trading hours
  • Put in place some measures to reduce promotional materials with RED choices or associated brands (for example, remove soft drink sponsored straw dispensers, put chocolates and chips in baskets rather than branded boxes, put branded ice cream and drinks fridges in low traffic areas, etc).

Need more information? Contact us for tailored support to meet the needs and priorities of your organisation.

*Reference: Riesenberg, D., Blake, M., Boelsen-Robinson, T., Peeters, A., & Cameron, A. 2020. Policies influencing the provision of healthy food and drinks in local government-owned sport and recreation facilities in Victoria, Australia. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 44(3).

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