Let’s talk about a weighty topic

For many people in our community, unhealthy weight is a pathway to chronic disease.

Obesity is fast becoming Australia's biggest public health challenge.

Across Australia, two in three adults and one in four children are either overweight or obese.

Rates of overweight and obesity are higher in rural and regional areas compared to metropolitan areas.

Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network is developing a model of care for General Practice to support people to reach a healthy weight and reduce their risk of chronic disease.

Research shows that tackling obesity and unhealthy weight requires a multifaceted approach, as the causes of weight gain may relate to a range of physiological, social, genetic, environmental and psychological factors.                                      

The model will take an inclusive approach to interventions, with multiple sectors and organisations included in the initiative to support people to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

The four current focus points for the Healthy Weight Initiative are:

VFP - Randomised Control Trial (RCT)
Pitch Night community-led initiatives
Healthy Lifestyle Community Grants
Expansion of the use of VFP



VFP Update – February 2019

The PHN has developed a Healthy Weight VFP (Visual Fitness Planner) which assist primary care clinicians and their patients work towards and attain a health weight through a healthy lifestyle. The 12 week program forms part of an Randomised Control Trial which has now seen the registration of 690 patients across the RCT. 

High Intensity groups are reporting positively on the program along with the positive impact the program is having on patient engagement and significant changes to lifestyle choices. 

Low intensity groups, whilst still attempting to encourage patients are finding it increasingly difficult to engage patients to return for follow up visits.  This is due to patients reporting no benefit from the program.  Strategies to increase patient’s return for follow up and intense project officer support are currently being implemented to ensure that the captured data meets the evaluation requirements.

The project team are actively engaging with all 26 practices as well as working closely with the drafting of proposed changes for the Visual Fitness Planner (VFP) platform to inform minor working changes prior to the potential further role out of licences within the PHN.  Alongside this the team are also in the process of modifying the training modules and reviewing the data set platforms to ensure full working capacity of the platform and reporting measures for the additional non RCT licenced sites.


Pitch Night Update – February 2019

The PHN conducted a Pitch Night in November 2018 and allocated funding to three organisations who will be implementing innovative strategies across our region to embed community-driven activities that address one of the following themes:

Getting your community moving
Eating right and eating well
Promoting lifestyle changes that improve all aspects of individual health

The Pitch Night Finalists were:

The Wholesome Collective (Wyong LGA)

The Wholesome Collective (WC) is a mobile, nutrition and cooking education service, offering fun and interactive cooking experiences that have a nutrition and movement focus. They are comprised of a team of dietitians, a home economist, a diabetes educator and an exercise scientist and together, they combine our skills to improve the overall health and wellbeing of vulnerable population groups within the Central Coast and Newcastle areas. They aim to target teenagers and young adults who come from low socio-economic backgrounds, have low education levels and/or come from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background. They use practical education in the form of hands on cooking and group-led education to enable community members to optimise their nutrition knowledge and cooking skills. They have several community partners in this project, including Central Coast Primary Care, Father Riley’s Youth Off the Streets, The Lakes College, Regional Youth Support Services and The Glen.

Diabetes NSW (region wide)

Digital Health Games - an online intervention to engage all members of the community in a fun and interactive way.  The Health Games format is delivered through a clinically validated, evidence-based app and designed to stimulate lifestyle change through a fun and engaging competition between teams in the community.  During the Health Games participants receive health education around nutrition and physical activity as well as regular in-app health and motivational messages throughout the program. Participants can also engage with other team members through the in app social feed and messaging features. During the games participants are invited to undertake an in-app screening to assess their risk of developing a chronic disease such as diabetes, stroke or heart disease. All participants receive their results and further health information. Those participants that are identified at high risk of developing a chronic disease can be referred to their care team and into full service lifestyle change programs.

Live Life, Get Active (region wide)

Live Life Get Active is a social enterprise that specifically looks at addressing health, fitness and happiness issues facing people today. They seek to address the growing issue of social disconnection by bringing all sorts of people together and providing them with a sense of belonging in a welcoming environment - a “whole of community” health and wellbeing initiative. Their proposition is to get people up, moving and having fun in a group, make them aware of their health issues, their lifestyle behaviours and get them to review how they eat. They do this by providing free daily fun activity camps in local parks that includes cross training, boxing and yoga for all levels, for 200 days of the year.  They achieve this by partnering with local councils and a funding partner.


Healthy Lifestyle Community Grants

Across Australia, two in three adults and one in four children are either overweight or obese.

Rates of overweight and obesity are higher in rural and regional areas compared to metropolitan areas.

Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network is seeking to support people to reach a healthy weight and reduce their risk of chronic disease.

Research shows that tackling obesity and unhealthy weight requires a multifaceted approach, as the causes of weight gain may relate to a range of physiological, social, genetic, environmental and psychological factors.

Evidence supports models of primary prevention strategies that increase the likelihood of shifting physical activity, healthy eating and lifestyle choices towards an energy balanced approach being delivered at a community or locality level.

To bring about a focused effort at a community or locality HNECC PHN are offering community grants to local government or local organisations that target behavioural and environmental change, specifically looking to increase physical activity, decrease screen time, improve diet quality by reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and the consumption of high energy foods.

Further information on the Healthy Lifestyle Community Grants https://www.hneccphn.com.au/news/healthy-weight-initiative-makes-funding-available-to-improve-the-health-of-our-communities/

 


Additional VFP Software Licenses

HNECCPHN have purchased an additional 100 VFP (Visual Fitness Planner) licenses to distribute to primary care providers within our region. Consequently, we are seeking expressions of interest from general practices that want to participate in this innovative weight management program. We are offering the program to an initial group of 100 practices / primary care providers within the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions. As this program is available for use with patients ‘at risk’ or who have chronic disease, there may be an opportunity to utilise relevant MBS item numbers, this will be at the discretion of each individual practice. 

Each practice will be supplied with a software licence free of charge or the first 12 months (after which practices will be responsible for the cost of the software) and will be accompanied with initial training and ongoing support. Each participant will complete a 12-week supported weight management program with follow up at 6 months and 12 months post program. Three education events have been scheduled to be held in Tamworth, Newcastle and the Central Coast during March 2019, which will include a presentation of the innovative software platform. 

If your practice is interested in participating in the program please contact Team Leader, Melissa Cromarty at  mcromarty@hneccphn.com.au  


If you have any ideas that could contribute to our Healthy Weight Initiative, supporting community efforts and promoting long-term health improvement, please contact Team Leader, Melissa Cromarty at  mcromarty@hneccphn.com.au , or go to our Healthy Weight Initiative peoplebank community engagement site.

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