Issue addressed: Overweight and obesity in Australia is an emerging health concern. Obesity prevention initiatives must consider both physical activity and nutrition to be effective. Community sports venues have the capacity to promote healthy lifestyles through physical activity as well as healthy food choices.
Methods: A telephone survey was conducted on parents of children aged 5-17 years in NSW to determine the nature of food and beverages purchased by children at community sporting venues and to determine parent's perception of the role that government should play in regulating the types of food and beverages sold at these outlets.
Results: The majority of canteens at children's sporting venues were considered to sell mostly unhealthy food and beverages (53%). Very few parents reported that canteens sold mostly healthy food and beverages. Parents reported that their child's most frequently purchased food and beverage items at outdoor sports fields were water, chocolate and confectionery, soft drink and sports drinks, and ice cream. At community swimming pools the most frequently purchased items were ice cream, followed by snack foods, including chips, cakes and biscuits. Most parents (63%) agreed that government should restrict the types of food and beverages that can be sold at children's sporting venues.
Conclusions: Children are receiving inconsistent health messages at sporting venues, with healthy lifestyles being promoted through sports participation, but unhealthy dietary choices being provided at sports canteens.