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Exercise The Right Medicine

Exercise The Right Medicine -- PHARMAC And Hillary Commission

Exercise is exactly what the doctor should be ordering for some New Zealanders looking to improve their health, says PHARMAC and the Hillary Commission.

The two Government agencies have announced that they have joined forces in promoting the successful Green Prescription programme. The initiative is unique in the world, and it is also a partnership with health providers.

Green Prescriptions are written by GPs and advise patients to be physically active as part of the patient’s health management. Clinical trials have revealed that almost half of people issued with a Green Prescription are likely to be following their doctors advice 11 months later.

This means that an estimated 40,000 inactive people will be encouraged into ongoing physical activity this year. The $1 million programme is expected to result in improved health as well as savings to other parts of the health budget.

PHARMAC Medical Director Peter Moodie says PHARMAC is pleased it is continuing its involvement with the programme, which has already helped a large number of New Zealanders.

“It is heartening to see the progress made by those who have already received green prescriptions. Obviously they need the will and commitment to take part, but the programme gives them just the encouragement they may have been looking for.

“Patients benefit because research shows they stick to a Green Prescription treatment longer than other exercise programmes and even some medicine based programmes. For some reason people respond well to white-coat-power. They know they should improve their lifestyle, but take it more seriously when it comes from their doctor.”

Dr Peter Moodie says PHARMAC is committed to promoting the best use of pharmaceuticals, and is involved in programmes such as the Wise Use of Antibiotics and the Asthma Self-Management Plan. The Green Prescriptions fits in with this aim.

“It’s about encouraging people to think about lifestyle changes, rather than turning to a drug to get help. It really is a win-win. People are improving their lifestyle simply through exercise, and of course with that comes savings to the health budget, which can then be redirected towards patients with other health needs.”

Once a patient receives a Green Prescription, they can contact their local Regional Sport Trust to find out what sporting activities are available in their region. In some cases the doctor may pass the patients details directly to the trust for them to make contact. The patient will receive three phone calls from the trust over the first four months as a form of encouragement.

[ends]

For more information contact Dr Peter Moodie.
Phone (025) 429-212

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