Green Prescription initiative turns 20

Green prescriptions can involve group exercise classes

New Zealand’s Green Prescription initiative, which has given out around 400,000 medication-free healthy lifestyle prescriptions, is celebrating its 20th birthday.

Health minister Jonathan Coleman today praised the alternative prescriptions which contain advice on nutrition and physical activity  and can involve initiatives from cooking classes to motivational texts, and 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, be at risk of stroke, or have arthritis

Dr Coleman says 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.”

He says the initiative is having a positive impact, with two thirds of patients who received a Green Prescription last year saying they’re now active and almost three quarters saying they are 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."

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