With more than three-quarters of people in the region either obese or overweight, local health services say there is a real need for a coordinated approach to getting healthy.
That’s why Western NSW Medicare Local (WML) have teamed up with the Western NSW Local Health District (WLDH), Cowra Shire Council, the Cowra branch of Heart Support-Australia, the Lions Club of Cowra, as well as consumer advocates and community volunteers to set up a working party to address obesity in Cowra.
Tabitha Jones, integration project officer for WML, said that both the WML and WLHD have identified obesity as a high priority area in Western NSW.
More importantly though, she said, the local community have identified the same need.
“From this we have formed a partnership between health, community groups and consumer advocates that has been driven by community involvement. We have had a shared vision of improving free access to a multidisciplinary team approach in Cowra to address obesity,” Ms Jones said.
The working party has recently launched the ‘Let’s Bring Healthy Back’ project which aims to deliver holistic assessments in consultation with the GP (where appropriate).
Ms Jones said WML will continue to work with their partners to drive change from a “grassroots level to address the issue of obesity and raise awareness of the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes”.
“This is the first major step in our campaign to address the challenges of obesity in Cowra and really shows the power of community action and the value of working together,” she said.
The eight week program will provide:
– Free access to group education via the HEAL program (Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles) and;
– individualised patient care to assist with goal setting and healthy lifestyle changes.
When a community member enrols in the ‘Let’s Bring Healthy Back’ program they will get a pre-exercise assessment, get enrolled in the HEAL program and get individual exercise sessions for eight weeks with a follow up at six and twelve months to monitor lifestyle changes and weight related KPIs.
In delivering a multidisciplinary approach to getting healthy, the EP will work with an aboriginal health worker, a dietitian and social worker to ensure that healthy lifestyle choices are adopted as part of the patient’s weight loss journey.
If you would like any further information about the program, or would like to enrol, please get in touch with Heart Support-Australia Cowra branch president Graham Moon on 0412 078 689.