Many Kiwis are unaware of the Green Prescription, but with around 50% of our population overweight or obese and a number of people with other health issues linked to lack of physical activity, this smart prescription to get inactive New Zealanders improving their health the natural way may likely help you or someone you know.
What is the Green Prescription
The Green Prescription, or GRx, is prescribed by a GP or nurse when they think physical activity would help manage the health of a patient. This includes conditions such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental health and weight management problems amongst many others.
It helps provide support and encouragement for individuals and families to become more physically active as part of a total health plan. It can even be made for primary and intermediate school-aged children with weight problems.
This initiative has been around since 1998, is available nationwide and is internationally recognised. Up to 30,000 referrals are made for adults each year, in addition to 628 children and their families. However, for people who don’t visit the doctor regularly, they may not know about it or understand what it does.
How the Green Prescription works
Once the referral is made, the patient is contacted by a support person who helps set goals, motivates and encourages over a number of months via phone calls, face-to-face meetings or through a support group.
If the prescription runs out and the patient still needs help, they can visit their doctor for a repeat prescription.
The gist of it is:
- Cost effective support and encouragement that provides accountability for those with the prescription.
- Helps a patient become more active if they’d like to do it but don’t know where to start.
- Some gyms and local sporting centres even provide special membership rates or deals for those with a Green Prescription.
For more information, ask your local GP or nurse, visit www.health.govt.nz or check out the Ministry of Health’s YouTube channel for real stories from real people who have benefited from the Green Prescription.
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