HORSHAM councillor Heather Phillips wants council to limit the sale of sugar-laden soft drinks and junk food at sporting and community events on council land.
Council’s draft Health and Well-being Plan 2013-17 shows more than half of the municipality’s residents are over-weight or obese – 53.9 per cent or 10,300 people.
More than 10 per cent of Horsham residents drink soft drink daily and half fail to eat enough fruit and vegetables.
Cr Phillips said council needed to crack down on soft drinks and junk food.
“We need to be careful about the provision of soft drinks at our schools and our sporting clubs,” she said.
“We have a good ‘in’ with a lot of our sporting groups because the grounds are on council land so we could have an influence on what is sold at community and sporting events.
“We have to be serious about getting our children used to the idea that they don’t have high energy and fizzy drinks available all the time.
"There are special occasion foods and every-day foods – soft drinks don’t fall into that every-day category.”
Soft drinks are becoming more popular with Australians with a 30 per cent increase in consumption in the past 10 years.
A 600ml bottle of soft drink can have up to 16 teaspoons of sugar.
Cr Phillips said council should also promote community gardens.
“We do a good job at our kindergarden level with encouraging children to look at the food they eat,” she said.
“At the moment, we have a community garden in Horsham North and a community garden at the Anglican church.
“While we are encouraging them, we should be more active in getting them going. If you have a men’s shed, why can’t we have a girls’ garden? I think that is a concept that could really catch on.”
The draft plan targets the city’s unhealthy habits with 80 proposed actions, including promoting fitness and increasing access to education.
It also aims to tackle the city’s rates of violence against women – the fourth highest of any municipality in the state – by working with health groups.
Cr Mark Radford said the draft plan was one of council’s most important strategies.
“This is a really important document but it is also a call to action,” he said.
“I look forward to seeing the actions put into practice.”