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Celebrating 20 years of pill-free prescriptions

19 June 2017 Media Statement
Celebrating 20 years of pill-free prescriptions

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has marked the 20th anniversary of the Green Prescription initiative, which has seen around 400,000 medication-free healthy lifestyle prescriptions given out.

“The Government is committed to supporting New Zealanders to live healthier more active lives away from hospitals,” says Dr Coleman.

“One of the ways we are doing this is through Green Prescriptions, which contain advice on nutrition and physical activity. Local initiatives range from cooking classes to motivational texts, and a range of opportunities to be active.

“There are a variety of reasons someone might receive a Green Prescription from their GP or practice nurse. Patients may have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, weight issues, have high blood pressure or cholesterol, at risk of stroke, or have arthritis.

“Almost 50,000 adults received a Green Prescription in the past year. That’s up from 1,960 prescriptions in the first year of the initiative.

“To date, over 400,000 New Zealanders and their families have now been given a green script. That’s the equivalent of one for every man, woman and child in Wellington City.

“The initiative is having a really positive impact, with two thirds of patients who received a Green Prescription last year saying they’re now active and almost three quarters said they were eating more healthy foods.

“Many patients also report other positive health changes, such as weight loss, increased fitness and higher energy levels.

“Green Prescriptions is a world-leading initiative and has received international acclaim. I’d like to acknowledge the health professionals who support this initiative and all of New Zealanders who have benefitted from it.”

Notes to Editors
An Active Families component was added to the Green Prescriptions programme in 2004 in response to GPs’ concerns from seeing increasing numbers of overweight children in their practices.

In 2015/16, 1,439 children from 1,250 families were referred to a Green Prescriptions Active Families programme.

Green Prescription services are provided by a range of organisations across New Zealand including local regional sports trusts, primary health organisations and NGOs.

A recent survey of over 2,800 recipients found the prescriptions not only benefit the individual but also have a positive impact on the whole family.

Summary of key findings:
• 73 per cent reported positive changes in their health
• 65 per cent said they are also encouraging others to be more active
• 64 per cent are still active 6 to 8 months after receiving their prescription
• 71 per cent have made changes to their diet
• 81 per cent are now motivated to get and/or stay physically active

The full results from the Green Prescription patient survey and further information about the initiative are available on the Ministry of Health website:

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