Hamilton moves toward less bottled water, fewer sugary snacks in recreational facilities

Get ready for fewer sugary snacks, and more healthy food and beverage choices, within the city’s arenas and recreation centres.

Hamilton’s Board of Health has voted 6-3 in favour of the Healthy Food and Beverage Action Plan.

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Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson says it’s about “making the healthy choice, the easy choice,” in response to a 67 per cent obesity rate among adults and a 27 per cent obesity rate among Hamilton children.

The board was also presented with statistics, prepared by the Healthy and Safe Communities Department, showing that more than 80 per cent of menu items sold in recreational facilities have little or no nutritional benefits.

The department also conducted an arena survey in 2017 in which only 12 per cent of respondents were “satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the availability of healthy options.

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In opposing the action plan, Ward 8 Coun. Terry Whitehead says he can never subscribe to taking “parents’ ability to educate and make choices on behalf of their children” out of their hands.

The plan, if approved by council next Wednesday, will also significantly reduce the sale of bottled water in city facilities.

A number of delegates appeared before the board on Monday afternoon to support that aspect of the plan, largely for environmental reasons.

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A delegation of students from Westdale Secondary School argued that up to 80 per cent of discarded plastic evades the recycling process.

Councillors also heard from Allan Greenleaf Elementary School students who urged them to “help us take action to make our future a better one.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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