WDHB and Sport Whanganui celebrate success with Green Prescription

14 September 2016

Whanganui district residents are gaining significant benefit from increased physical activity provided by Sport Whanganui’s Green Prescription (GRx) programme.
Designed to encourage New Zealanders to eat well and lead more active lives, Green Prescription is a Government-led, pill-free prescription recommended by health sector providers who think a person or family, would benefit from the programme.
Ninety-five percent of Whanganui’s Green Prescription referrals come from GPs and practice nurses with the remaining five percent of referrals coming from hospital specialists and midwives. WDHB portfolio manager Candace Sixtus says Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) contracts Sport Whanganui to work with 1325 adults and 35 families enrolled in the Active Families programme, a year.
“Activities prescribed by Sport Whanganui include group fitness classes, strength and balance classes, water-based exercise, walking groups, swimming and access to sports clubs,” Mrs Sixtus says.
Green Prescriptions are recommended to patients who might have arthritis or be at risk of having a stroke or a heart attack due to Type 2 Diabetes, pre-Diabetes, weight issues, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
“If Green Prescriptions can help people change their diet and increase the level of exercise they do to improve their health and quality of life it’s a win-win for them and our health system,” Mrs Sixtus says. “Evidence shows that if one family member sets about improving their diet and lifting their level of exercise, the whole family benefits.”
Sport Whanganui Green Prescription regional manager Deb Byers says she’s confident people are benefiting from Green Prescriptions which she describes as written advice for a patient to be more active and improve their nutrition as part of their health management.
“The Ministry of Health survey our Green Prescription clients every year to assess the Key Performance Indicators and make sure we are meeting our nine goals to help clients improve their level of health. The results are very pleasing.”
Those nine goals have to show that participants:
  1. are more active since receiving their GRx
  2. adopt better nutritional habits
  3. receive effective support to maintain activity
  4. have a choice of activities that are relevant and appropriate for them
  5. are motivated to participate in and follow their GRx
  6. are aware of, and understand, the benefits of physical activity
  7. have noticed positive health changes since being more active
  8. are supported to sustain behaviour changes
  9. receive consistent, high quality services and support
Ms Byers says Sport Whanganui’s trained Green Prescription personnel provide support by phone, face-to-face or in the form of group support.