More clubs across the wider Wellington Region are ditching their unhealthy sponsorship and promoting water instead as part of the ever expanding Go the H2O movement.

What started with one local sports code and Hutt City Council has grown to include 69 clubs from 12 different sports codes supported by six councils.

Healthy Families Hutt Valley works with sports codes and clubs across the region to promote water as the drink of choice. When we drink water, we’re not drinking sugary drinks that are the leading source of sugar for our tamariki.

Sugary drinks contribute to obesity, poor oral health, type two diabetes and many other preventable chronic disease.

Hayley Buchan, Manager of Healthy Families Hutt Valley said that too many of our tamariki were drinking sugary drinks too often.

“Across the Hutt Valley alone 385 children had dental treatment under general anaesthetic in 2018. This is what drives our work to make water the first drink of choice, especially for children.”

The Go the H2O Player of the Day initiative is a key way Healthy Families Hutt Valley can enable pro-water environments where our young people play sport. To be eligible, sports clubs and regional sports codes demonstrate their commitment to promoting water as the drink of choice.

In return they receive Player of the Day certificates that include a free pool pass to any of the 23 council pools in the participating regions. The Player of the Day certificates are a popular and healthier alternative to traditional fast food vouchers and provide the added benefit of an extra opportunity for families to be active at the pools.

Tammy Ferreira from the Wellington Rugby Union said the player of the day certificates were a fantastic way to reiterate to players that we support water only sidelines.

“The addition of the free pool entry voucher goes one step further in encouraging activity – together to help our children build a clear picture of what a healthy lifestyle looks like and how much fun it can be.”

Phil Gibbons, Chief Executive of Sport Wellington and a member of Healthy Families Hutt Valley’s Strategic Leadership Group said sport and recreation organisations relied on funding from many different sources in order to operate and provide opportunities for young people in particular.

“Having a popular alternative to the more traditional player of the day rewards that supports health and wellbeing is an important step to changing the system.” Parents, players and coaches are behind the initiative too.

Imagine if our sidelines were all water only and fast food sponsorship had no place in sport.