Public health plan gets re­sults


A Gov­ern­ment health pro­gramme has been re­ferred to more than half a mil­lion New Zealan­ders seek­ing a health­ier lifestyle.

The Green Pre­scrip­tion (GRx) Pro­gramme, a Min­istry of Health re­fer­ral-based ini­tia­tive which be­gan in 1998, gets health pro­fes­sional to pre­scribe pa­tients with writ­ten ad­vice on how to be phys­i­cally ac­tive and im­prove health man­age­ment.

Since launch­ing more than 500,000 New Zealan­ders have been re­ferred to the pro­gramme for cases like pre-di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, asthma, arthri­tis, men­tal health and weight is­sues.

A 2016 study by Lin­coln and Massey Univer­sity on the long term ef­fec­tive­ness of the pro­gramme re­vealed par­tic­i­pants that had com­pleted it in the past two to three years re­ported an ad­di­tional 64 min­utes of to­tal phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity per week com­pared to those who had not com­pleted the pro­gramme in its en­tirety.

In 2017, al­most 50,000 adult re­fer­rals were recorded na­tion wide, 4000 of which were from Auck­land Cen­tral.

Glen Innes res­i­dent Stuart Rarere, 39, weighed close to 200kg in 2015. Rarere, a type 2 di­a­betic, said be­ing re­ferred to GRx helped him shed 90 kilo­grams and saved his life.

Sports Auck­land’s health and well­ness busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Michael McCor­mack said there were a va­ri­ety of rea­sons some­one might re­ceive a Green Pre­scrip­tion from their health pro­fes­sional.

‘‘We have many clients on the pro­gramme who don’t need to lose weight but may be on the pro­gramme to help sup­port their asthma con­di­tion or men­tal health con­di­tion for ex­am­ple.’’

McCor­mack said re­sults from grad­u­ate sur­veys re­vealed that 81 per cent of par­tic­i­pants now felt more con­fi­dent do­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and 76 per cent of par­tic­i­pants made sig­nif­i­cant changes to their diet since re­ceiv­ing GRx sup­port.

‘‘Across New Zealand the pro­gramme is tai­lored to suit the de­mo­graphic and com­mu­nity that the ser­vice is be­ing de­liv­ered in so that con­tent is both rel­e­vant and ap­pro­pri­ate to ser­vice users.’’

The GRx pro­gramme now also pro­vides phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and lifestyle ed­u­ca­tion sup­port pro­grammes for fam­i­lies of obese chil­dren aged be­tween 5 to 17 years old, as part of the Min­istry of Health’s child­hood obe­sity plan.


Michael McCor­mack of Sport Auck­land says it has had more than 900 pa­tient re­fer­rals in the last three months.

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