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Appetite For Life

Appetite For Life

Appetite For Life, a six-week programme run by the Canterbury District Health Board for women who are motivated to make lifestyle changes, will be rolled out to the wider community after a successful pilot.

The programme is designed for women who want to lose weight or maintain their current weight. Its focus is on helping women overcome barriers to adopting healthy behaviours, and aims to provide them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make positive sustainable changes to their food choices and activity levels.

The three year research pilot for the programme took place in Christchurch, the West Coast and Timaru, with very promising results.

Bronwen King from the CDHB’s Community and Public Health division says “the pilot programme we ran showed that Appetite For Life made a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of participants a full year after taking part in the programme. We found improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and that participants had continued to exercise more and eat more fruit and vegetables.”

The CDHB will roll out the Appetite For Life programme through General Practices. General Practitioners will refer women to the programme, which will be facilitated by practice nurses, who will then be supported by dieticians or registered nutritionists. More than 40 practice nurses have already been trained in the programme.

The contract has been awarded to all Canterbury Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) and CDHB’s Community & Public Health division. Almost $1 million will be invested in the programme over the next three years. This includes significant funding from the PHOs. Bronwen King believes that the programme has the potential to become a referral tool for health professionals in much the same way as the Green Prescription. Indeed Appetite For Life has been personally acknowledged by the previous Minister of Health as making a contribution to reducing the current epidemic of overweight and obesity.

Improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and reducing obesity are three of the 13 population health priorities covered in the NZ Health Strategy (Ministry of Health 2000).

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