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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2017 Jan 22. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12632. [Epub ahead of print]

Examining the nutritional quality of food and beverage consumed at Melbourne aquatic and recreation centres.

Author information

  • 1Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria.
  • 2School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria.
  • 3Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Victoria.
  • 4YMCA Victoria.



Examine the nutritional quality of food and beverages consumed across a sample of community aquatic and recreation centres in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia.


Interviewer-administered surveys of randomly selected patrons attending four aquatic and recreation centres were conducted to ascertain food and beverage items consumed over two data collection periods (May-June 2014, January-February 2015). We selected centres in and around metropolitan Melbourne with a sit-down cafeteria and children's swimming classes. We classified items by government nutrient profiling guidelines; 'green' (best choice), 'amber' (choose carefully) or 'red' (limit).


A total of 2,326 surveys were conducted (response rate 63%). Thirty-five per cent of surveyed patrons consumed food or beverages while at the centre; 54% of patrons purchased from the café and 61% brought items to the centre. More than half the food consumed from the café was 'red', increasing to 92% for children. One in five children visiting the centre consumed a 'red' item bought from the centre café.


The nutritional quality of food and beverages consumed at recreation centres was generally poor, with the on-site cafés providing the majority of discretionary items consumed. Implications for public health: Community aquatic and recreation centres provide an opportunity to promote healthy eating by increasing the provision of healthy options and limiting discretionary food and drink items.


aquatic and recreation centre; child; nutrition; policy; sport

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