Hosting Healthy Sporting Events
Ever Active Schools (EAS) and the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) are supporting healthy changes in the foods sold and served at Alberta school sporting events.
Why? We believe healthy food environments should exist in settings that promote physical activity participation to reinforce a healthy lifestyle.
And we believe Albertans agree. In a recent survey of Alberta school coaches, teachers and athletic directors, 76% of respondents indicated they would support a policy mandating healthy food options at sporting events. Further, 85% of survey respondents would support prohibiting advertising of sugar-sweetened beverages at these events and 83% would support restricting sales of sugar-sweetened beverages at school concessions/canteens.
With funding support from the Alberta Healthy School Community Wellness Fund, the activities of the project fall into three phases; clarify, coordinate and influence
Phase 1. Clarify.
(2011/2012) This stage helped identify key stakeholders and sought feedback from school community leaders who showed readiness to mandate healthy eating within the school community. 86% of respondents to an online survey indicated they would support ONLY healthy eating options within their school sport events.
Phase 2 . Coordinate.
(2012/2013) In this phase focus groups were organized to determine and discuss barriers for implementation of healthy eating guidelines, as well as inform next steps in building support for policy development.
Through data gathered from these focus groups, an electronic toolkit was developed to support school communities in creating healthy eating environments.
Lastly in this phase, the project created a campaign that encouraged individuals to pause and think differently about accompanying unhealthy food within school and community events, where other healthy habits are the focus.
Check out the video and spread the word about how you can be involved in creating healthy food environments in schools, recreation and community settings.
Phase 3. Influence.
(2014/2015) In this phase, EAS, and ASAA worked hard to introduce the new Tool-Kit to high schools and our healthy eating partners in health and recreation.
Moreover, during this year EAS and ASAA struck a committee to find a way to positively influence the nutritional offerings at ASAA events. The committee’s goals were to:
- Guide policy development as ASAA moved towards including nutritional requirements for hosting provincial championship events
- Develop a clear picture of exactly what is considered appropriate food offerings
- Ensure financial constraints are not a hurdle to good nutrition
The following was proposed by the committee to the ASAA board and passed for implementation in 2015-16
All food offered at ASAA [provincial] championship events (hosted in school facilities) must fit within the Choose Most Often and Choose Sometimes categories of the Alberta Nutritional Guidelines for Children and Youth
Phase 4. Implement.
(2015-?) EAS and ASAA worked to create a brand as we moved into the implementation phase of this initiative, and began support and promotions for the newly passed policy.
Born was “Appetite for Change”
"Arm-in- arm, we are the agents of change, on the frontline in the fight for serving food products at Championship Sporting Events that reflect the very qualities and virtues of athleticism itself. Together we are demanding better."
Appetite for Change offers supports and services to help transform school concessions into healthy environments for the athletes of tomorrow
Today EAS and ASAA is working to:
Increase awareness of the initiative and increase comprehension on why this is important
Increase interest and requests for information and tutorials from event hosts
Encourage and support a gradual transition to healthier menus and compliance with the policy