Texts for healthy mums

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Text mes­sages will be used to en­cour­age healthy life­styles for new moth­ers from early next year.

The new ap­proach will help reach fam­i­lies from com­mu­ni­ties who can slip through the cracks of the health sys­tem, Auck­land Dis­trict Health Board Maori health man­ager Naida Glav­ish says.

It is part of a wider $1.6 mil­lion gov­ern­ment pro­gramme in­vest­ing in a healthy eat­ing mes­sage for Waitem­ata and cen­tral Auck­land’s hard­est-to-reach new mums and fam­i­lies.

Preg­nant women and young mums who reg­is­ter for the free ser­vice will re­ceive texts en­cour­ag­ing them to make healthy life­style choices dur­ing and af­ter preg­nancy.

‘‘Tex­ting is a re­ally ef­fec­tive way of get­ting the mes­sage across. A phone call is easy to ig­nore but peo­ple can al­ways find time to read a text,’’ Mrs Glav­ish says.

The texts will in­clude re­minders and ad­vice for dif­fer­ent stages of preg­nancy and pro­vide sup­port for breast­feed­ing mums.

There is no need to be par­tic­u­larly tech-savvy for it to be ef­fec­tive, she says.

The ser­vice will be rolled out in a num­ber of lan­guages early in the new year.

Health Min­is­ter Tony Ryall says the scheme is sim­i­lar to one where text mes­sag­ing is used to help peo­ple quit smok­ing.

The ser­vice has been found to dou­ble quit rates and has been im­ple­mented as a Min­istry of Health-funded na­tional ser­vice, he says.

The texts for healthy eat­ing ser­vices is part of an ef­fort by com­mu­nity health groups and the Waitem­ata and Auck­land dis­trict health boards to work to­gether to help fam­i­lies to ac­cess an­te­na­tal, post­na­tal and in­fant ser­vices.

The $1.6 mil­lion in fund­ing, which is to be spread over two years, is de­signed to pre­vent obe­sity, Mr Ryall says.

Group ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes will cover breast­feed­ing sup­port, shop­ping on a bud­get, healthy cook­ing meth­ods and ex­er­cise.

Be­ing over­weight dur­ing preg­nancy can lead to se­ri­ous prob­lems for moth­ers, such as preeclamp­sia and ges­ta­tional di­a­betes, As­so­ci­ate Health Min­is­ter Jo Good­hew says.

It can also have ad­verse health out­comes for the child.

‘‘Ev­i­dence sug­gests the el­ders of a fam­ily or com­mu­nity can have sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence on the di­etary and life­style choices made by younger mums – and that they don’t al­ways do so cor­rectly,’’ she says.

The texts will be backed up by ra­dio ad­verts to make sure the ben­e­fits of healthy eat­ing and ex­er­cise for mums and ba­bies is prop­erly con­veyed.

Fund­ing for the health pro­mo­tion pro­gramme is from within the Min­istry of Health’s ex­ist­ing bud­get and the project will be fully eval­u­ated to see if it should be rolled out fur­ther.

Photo: LAWRENCE SMITH

Healthy mes­sage: Auck­land Dis­trict Health Board Maori health man­ager Naida Glav­ish hopes a new text mes­sage ser­vice will help new moth­ers make healthy choices.

– Naida Glav­ish Maori health man­ager

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.