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  • Writer's pictureHannah Phillips

HEAL: Helping Regional and Rural South Australians Live Healthier Lives

A free preventative health initiative is rolling out across regional and rural South Australia in hopes to help those who are overweight, at risk of chronic disease or who already have one or more chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

The initiative HEAL (Healthy Eating Activity and Lifestyle program) is delivered by a range of service providers with support from Country SA Primary Health Network through its After Hours Preventative Health grants.

The HEAL program was developed by the Macarthur Division of General Practice (MDGP) and has been conducted in South Western Sydney since 1999.

In 2003 the program was expanded to incorporate group exercise sessions in addition to its group education sessions.

HEAL aims to encourage participants to take responsibility for their individual health by focusing on behaviour modification principles during the eight-week program.

“The long-term objective of HEAL is to help patients avoid escalating poor health conditions as well as preventable hospital admissions,” Country SA PHN CEO Kim Hosking said.

“This is another important preventative health program providing access to quality care in an after-hours setting.

By encouraging positive behaviour change, it will help participants improve their overall health as well as decreasing risk factors that contribute to chronic conditions.”

The program focuses on nutrition, physical activity and psychology and addresses behaviour modification and goal setting.

HEAL participants are screened by a Registered Nurse or Allied Health Professional pre and post the program, with follow ups at five and 12 months after it has been completed.

During the program participants take part in two-hour sessions held weekly.

To find out whether you are eligible to take part in the HEAL program, speak to your GP (referral required).

For more information, visit the Country SA PHN website.

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