Latrobe Community Health Service is urging shoppers to scrap sugary drinks for water when buying a takeaway lunch in response to high obesity rates in the region.
"We do have quite high rates of sugary drink consumption by adults in the Latrobe Valley so we currently have over 16 per cent of adults consuming sugary drinks on a daily basis," LCHS health promotion officer Alisha Brooks said.
Ms Brooks said more than half of the adult population in Gippsland were overweight or obese.
"There's 11.6 per cent of adults in Gippsland that actually purchase takeaway foods multiple times a week as well," Ms Brooks said.
The health service has gathered the support of food outlets in a Traralgon shopping centre to take the lead to encourage their customers to make healthier choices when quenching their thirst after a meal.
For a month, starting Tuesday, July 10, nine takeaway food outlets have pledged support to a campaign to ask their customers 'would you like water with that?' when selling meal deals.
Ms Brooks said it was the individual's choice what they bought, however, the campaign would make healthier choices easier.
"If you're having sugary drinks on a daily basis you're adding a lot of added kilojoules into your diet that are not necessary," she said.
"By switching to water you're obviously decreasing your kilojoule intake which will obviously have health benefits for you."
She said the benefits included reducing the risk of developing obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
This campaign is a first for the Traralgon shopping centre and its centre manager Jeff Andrews said "we need to be pushing for healthier choices for the community where we can".
Sandwich Chefs is a takeaway outlet involved in the drive whose franchisee Thu Danh agreed many of her customers opted for soft drinks with their meal.
"We'll be able to hopefully persuade our customers to pick the healthier option and it's just a matter of providing them the choice," Ms Danh said.
Traralgon Shopping Centre will host a campaign launch on Tuesday, July 10 with a range of activities including a healthy sandwich-making session and show bags.