Southland Schools Rethinking Their Drink

A local health campaign is encouraging Southland schools to choose water or plain milk over sugary drinks.

The Rethink Your Drink campaign - a collaboration between the Southern District Health Board’s Health Promoting Schools and Oral Health teams, the Heart Foundation and Healthy Families Invercargill - is running throughout May.

Healthy Families Invercargill settings coordinator Stella O’Connor said the joint approach was aimed at improving child obesity and oral hygiene.

“During May we have been encouraging schools to create stories, posters and videos promoting water and posting them to the Rethink Your Drink Facebook page, with a range of cool prizes available,” O’Connor said.

“It’s great that schools like Aurora College have been leading the way by becoming water-only, but there are still schools which are selling sugary drinks. This campaign is a great chance for schools to showcase the great stuff they have been doing to create a school environment where water and plain milk are the drinks of choice.”

The campaign has attracted plenty of high profile support, including Warriors star Ben Matulino, the Southland Sharks, Southern Steel and The Hits’ James and Liv.

The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education have jointly backed the promotion of water-only messaging in schools.

Along with the May initiative, work continues to support schools to adopt water-only policies and to work with school canteens to provide healthy options.

As part of the Rethink Your Drink campaign, schools could opt not to sell sugary drinks at school events, map their water fountains and promote water-only messages through their newsletters, O’Connor said.

“This is about making the healthy choice the easy choice,” she said.

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