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Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

The traditional meat pie at local footy games could soon be unpopular, with evidence a lack of healthy food options at sporting events may harm the greater community. 

A healthier food initiative is to be rolled out across Tamworth to address growing concerns about the heart health of New England residents.

Statistics from the Heart Foundation state 63 out of every 100 000 Australians died from coronary heart disease between 2012 and 2020.

The New England Region is higher than the national average, with 85 people out of 100 000 succumbing to this disease during the same period.

A collaborative public health effort has formed to address the growing issue of cardiovascular disease. This alliance is between the Tamworth Regional Council, the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (the PHN), the University of Newcastle (UON), Rural Fit, Barton Lane, Northern Inland Academy of Sport, Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Centre (TAMS) and local educators.

They will take stock of the food options for sale at council-run sporting facilities and then create a report with suggestions on improving the nutritional quality of the available food.

“Tamworth LGA has one of the highest rates of cardiovascular disease deaths in Australia.”

“The region also has a higher than the national average in relation to hospital admissions for heart attacks and the mortality rate of coronary heart disease,” said Richard Nankervis, Chief Executive Officer at the PHN.

The project aims to investigate the feasibility of providing more healthy food choices in TRC sporting facilities by developing a 12-month pilot program.

It also hopes to develop retail food access mapping to show the trends in the Tamworth LGA food retail environment over time, which can be the basis for policy change and development.

The first facilities to benefit from the project will be the Tamworth Swimming Pools and Sports Dome.

“We would be thrilled if the community can take a few minutes of their day to answer the survey if approached,” said Edwina Sharrock, Founder and Director of Birth Beat and a PHN Board Director.

“This is such an important area of health, and the more the community is involved, the better the outcomes will be.”

A report from the Heart Foundation found the New England region had a higher prevalence of risk in all four factors influencing the chance of suffering heart disease.

They found New England residents tended to smoke more, had higher blood pressure, didn’t exercise enough and had higher rates of obesity than the state and national averages.

Growing concern about these statistics could be part of the reason behind this call to give people different food options.

Pies, hot chips and sausage rolls will not disappear from the menus at your local sports games. Instead, there may be a greater selection of more nutritious foods available giving people better options.


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