Saturday, May 26, 2012

Notes from New Zealand; Green Prescriptions

I recently received this media statement from the Kiwi Health Minister, promoting the green prescription program. This can be the most important prescription a doctor writes for their patient...

"Many keen for green prescribing

The benefit to patients from following doctors’ orders for regular exercise is highlighted in a publication launched today by Health Minister Tony Ryall.
“Last year GPs and practice nurses issued 32,028 people with a Green Prescription to become more physically active, an increase of 5,868 people since 2008. Over 80 per cent of GPs in the country have issued Green Prescriptions.

The internationally recognised Green Prescriptions are a health professional’s written advice to encourage and support patients to exercise regularly as part of a total health plan. The main activities prescribed are walking, swimming and gym exercises.

“The top three reasons people are given a Green Prescription are weight problems, high blood pressure and risk of stroke or diabetes.

“A survey this year shows 73 per cent of people noticed improvements in their health six to eight months after receiving their Green Prescription.

“The online publication tells 10 patient stories - each one showing how regular exercise has had significant benefits in the person’s life.

“It also includes a story from our own Olympic great Sir Peter Snell who describes regular physical exercise as the closest we can get to immortality – and after reading the patient stories it’s easy to understand his enthusiasm.

“Since receiving his Green Prescription, Northland man Andrew Riwhi-Moiha has lost 22 kilograms, reduced his blood pressure and no longer needs to take as much diabetes medication.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the National Government’s Green Prescription initiative is getting more New Zealanders active and significantly improving their health.
The patient stories can be read or watched on the Ministry website.