Published September 10th 2018

From line dancing and chair yoga, to workshops with a registered dietitian, the Green Prescription programme is helping Kiwis get active and improve their lifestyle.

The free referral-based health and wellness programme has been running in New Zealand for 20 years and has helped support thousands of people improve their health and wellbeing.

The 12-week face-to-face programme offers patients regular contact and support to become more active and adopt healthier eating patterns. Patients are linked in with local activities such as aqua aerobics, gym and pool options, walking groups, tai chi, chair yoga, pilates, kick-boxing, line dancing and Zumba.

There’s also a range of free, weekly lifestyle workshops run by experts on topics such as nutrition, how to read food labels, home-based exercise programmes, how to manage health conditions such as diabetes and arthritis, posture and health, and how to stay happy and focussed.

At the end of the programme, participants attend a graduation ceremony, but have the option of continuing the programme if needed.


Sport Auckland delivers programme

Sport Auckland delivers the Green Prescription adult programme to patients over 18 years of age in the Auckland and Counties Manukau DHB areas.

People can make self-referrals by phoning 0800 ACTIVE (0800 228 483), however the most reliable referral method is an e-referral from a health professional. (Secondary care and DHB-based health professionals are not able to e-refer, but can continue to fax and email referrals.)

Michael McCormack, Sport Auckland Health & Wellness business development manager, says the programme is about supporting and motivating people to improve their lifestyle.

“The results are amazing. I’ve seen people lose a lot of weight, improve their diet and lifestyle, and as a result their overall health has improved dramatically. Some people have even come off their medication for things like high blood pressure. We also see big improvements in self-esteem and energy levels. It really is life-changing for a lot of people,” he says.

“Our target demographic is people with a high bodyweight, people at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or asthma, people with moderate mental health conditions, and more recently, pregnant women with gestational diabetes. However, anybody who is inactive and would benefit from the programme can be referred.”

And it’s not just people over 18 years who can take part. Green Prescription also includes an Active Families programme, which targets families with children aged 5–17 years, offering similar services but over a nine to 12–month period. Included are home visits and weekly activity-based sessions and practical nutrition workshops for parents and whanau.


What patients can expect

Adults referred to the Green Prescription programme are contacted over the phone by a healthy lifestyle advisor within four working days of their referral.

“A face-to-face consultation is set up at a local community venue, the programme is explained and a plan is made to help the patient improve their lifestyle. Weekly group fitness sessions and lifestyle workshops are offered, as well as continuing phone support.”

For families taking part in the Active Families programme, a healthy lifestyle advisor visits their home to have the consultation.

“We then go through a similar process of explaining the programme and what’s on offer locally for the whole family to get involved.”

Michael says HealthLink’s electronic referrals are fast, secure, paperless and enable Green Prescription healthy lifestyle advisors to deliver the best programme possible.

“The more detailed information we have, the more accurate we can be with our suggestions and advice. It also means the handover from the health professional to the Green Prescription provider is more efficient.”

Details about your local Green Prescription service provider can be found here. You can contact them to arrange for a time to come and speak to your team about what’s on offer and the best way to refer.


How to refer to Sport Auckland

Sport Auckland are located in the Auckland and Counties Manukau DHB areas.

To refer to Sport Auckland electronically:

  • open the patient record
  • launch the HealthLink homepage
  • using the CareSelect search bar – type “Green Prescription”
  • click “Compose Referral”.