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World Obesity Federation launches global Healthy Venues award

The World Obesity Federation (WOF) has officially launched its pioneering new Healthy Venues Award to the events industry at ibtm world, Barcelona.
The Healthy Venues award forms part of World Obesity’s Action Initiative – a mechanism for stimulating action to help reduce obesity across a wide range of industries, in particular those that are not usually involved with health. World Obesity is using the opportunity of people stepping outside their routine to help them make healthier choices with conference venues providing the means to do so.

Venues must achieve stringent criteria to be considered a Healthy Venue. In return, venues will receive promotional materials including a logo reflecting the level of their achievement (bronze, silver or gold), educational materials for staff and advice on making venues and meetings healthier.  

Natasha Joyner, Head of Events at the World Obesity Federation said: “Thanks to the Healthy Venues award, we hope to see a growing network of meeting and conference venues helping delegates lead healthier lifestyles whilst away from home. We firmly believe that improving a venue’s health footprint – their “healthprint” as we call it - can add value and impact to an event experience.”  

The objectives of the Healthy Venues award are to:
• Grow a network of meeting / conference venues committed to providing facilities that help people live healthier lives
• Encourage venues and event planners to consider what changes they can make to reduce obesity and improve people’s lives
• Secure greater emphasis on the improvement of people’s health as a consideration in the design of venues  

The Healthy Venue Award is based around three key pillars – providing a wide variety of affordable healthy food, promoting physical activity to event delegates and helping them to minimise sedentary behaviour and promoting healthy workplaces for venue staff.  

The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow, Scotland has been a key partner for World Obesity in the development of the award and is looking to become the first venue in the world to achieve accreditation under the scheme’s challenging criteria. The SECC shares World Obesity’s ambition to promote healthier lifestyles, particularly among its staff and attendees at SECC-hosted events.           

Investments already made by the SECC to support a healthier event experience for delegates include:  
• A healthy venue task force to implement new healthy practices
• A pioneering partnership with Nextbike to provide free bikes to delegates
• Signs encouraging delegates to use the stairs or stand to applause in sessions
• Access to route maps promoting walking, cycling, running and health clubs
• A staff pedometer challenge
• Low fat, sugar and alcohol menu options through caterers Levy Restaurants
• Free healthy packages of fresh fruit, juice and water for event organisers  

Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SECC said:   “Given the millions of delegate hours spent in our care, we have a responsibility to help our delegates eat well and remain active whilst away from home. Venues and planners are in a position to make a truly positive impact by adopting the practices of the Healthy Venues award. Not only does it add value to an event experience, it can benefit the local community and potentially a whole generation as well.”  

Last month, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow’s SECC campus was lit up to celebrate the first ever World Obesity Day (11 October 2015). Organised by World Obesity, World Obesity Day is the first ever single day organised to: increase public and policymaker understanding of the challenge of obesity and what can be done to tackle it; and share national experiences of campaigning to enable the spread of best practices (  #WorldObesityDay).

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