Improving availability, promotion and purchase of fruit and vegetable and non sugar-sweetened drink products at community sporting clubs: a randomised trial

Amateur sporting clubs represent an attractive setting for health promotion. These clubs are not supportive of healthy eating and there have been no previous randomised trials of interventions to improve the food environment in this setting. This study assesses the impact of a multi-component intervention on the availability, promotion and purchase of fruit and vegetable and non sugar -sweetened drink products from community sporting club canteens. We also assessed the impact the intervention on sporting club revenue from the sale of food and beverages.MethodA repeat cross-sectional, parallel group, cluster randomized controlled trial was undertaken with amateur community football clubs in New South Wales, Australia. The intervention was conducted over 2.5 winter sporting seasons and sought to improve the availability and promotion of fruit and vegetables and non sugar-sweetened drinks in sporting club canteens. Trial outcomes were assessed via telephone surveys of sporting club representatives and members.
Eighty five sporting clubs and 1143 club members participated in the study. Relative to the control group, at follow-up, clubs allocated to the intervention were significantly more likely to have fruit and vegetable products available at the club canteen (OR = 5.13; 95% CI 1.70-15.38), were more likely to promote fruit and vegetable selection using reduced pricing and meal deals (OR = 34.48; 95% CI 4.18-250.00) and members of intervention clubs were more likely to report purchase of fruit and vegetable (OR = 2.58 95%CI; 1.08-6.18) and non sugar -sweetened drink (OR = 1.56; 95%CI 1.09-2.25) products. There was no significant difference between groups in the annual club revenue from food and non-alcoholic beverage sales.
The findings demonstrate that the intervention can improve the nutrition environment of sporting clubs and the purchasing behaviour of members.Trial registrationAustralian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12609000224224.

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