Healthy Families Waitakere is driving changes to signature events out West to create an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
Healthy Families Waitakere worked alongside Auckland Council, Auckland Regional Public Health Service, and Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura to create healthier food and beverage guidelines for community-led events across the region.
The new guidelines are in line with the Ministry of Health’s National Healthy Food and Drink Policy guidelines and include practical ideas and tips for food vendors to provide healthier and more affordable food options at events.
Auckland Councillor Penny Hulse is keen to ensure Auckland Council fully supports the work of Healthy Families Waitakere to influence the provision of food at events.
“Affordable opportunities for healthy food and water instead of sugary fizzy drinks should be made available at all our events”, she says
Healthy Families Waitakere worked with event organisers and food vendors at the Henderson Christmas Festival and the Waitakere Diwali Festival to implement the new guidelines, reaching over 13,000 event attendees.
In December 2017, event organisers for Henderson-Massey Local Board’s annual Henderson Christmas Festival took a stand by including vendors who applied the guidelines. The event had plenty of healthy food options and water was the cheapest drink on the night. The changes proved to be so successful that Henderson Massey Local Board will adopt the guidelines for future Local Board events.
The Waitakere Indian Association committed to using the guidelines and included Healthy Families Waitakere in their briefing to vendors for the Waitakere Diwali Festival held in October 2017. Vendors made changes to their event menus and reduced the number of sweets and cakes available on the day. The Waitakere Indian Association are proactively working with food vendors for their next event to encourage further changes.
Healthy Families Waitakere Manager Kerry Allan said both events showed that making these healthy changes was widely accepted as a positive step by the community.
“By bringing regional and local leadership together to build the capability of event providers and food vendors, we can create many health promoting environments. Gaining support from our local community event organisers to apply the guidelines at two events has been a huge success and we look forward to more events offering healthier food and beverage options to their attendees in 2018”.
Image: Henderson Christmas Festival