Issue addressed: Little is known of the extent to which senior sports clubs support the consumption of healthy food and beverages. This study of senior community football clubs aimed to describe: i) the food and beverages available in club canteens; ii) the perceived acceptability of club representatives (e.g. club president or secretary) to selling healthy food and beverages in club canteens; iii) the perceived barriers of club representatives to providing healthy food and beverage options in their club canteen; iv) the associations between the availability of healthy options in canteens, perceived barriers to healthy food and drink availability, and club characteristics; and (v) the food and beverages usually purchased from canteens by club members.
Methods: The study involved 70 senior community football clubs (Australian Rules Football, Soccer, Rugby League and Rugby Union) across New South Wales, Australia. Club representatives and club members took part in cross-sectional telephone surveys.
Results: The most frequently available items at club canteens were regular soft drinks and potato chips or other salty snacks (available at 99% of clubs). Approximately two-thirds (66%) of club representatives agreed or strongly agreed that clubs should provide a greater variety of healthy food options. Perishability and lack of demand were the most frequently cited barriers to healthy food provision. Healthy food options were more available at AFL clubs compared with other football codes. Overall, 6% of club members reported purchasing a healthy food option.
Conclusions: Senior community football clubs primarily stock and sell unhealthy food and beverage items. There is support within clubs for providing more healthy options; however, clubs face a number of barriers to the inclusion of healthy foods in club canteens.