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Just What The Doctor Ordered

A public health initiative Green Prescription

Beating the Odds

Lovey Hodginkinson before her Green Prescription
Before
My name is Lovey Hodginkinson and I am privileged to share my success story and how Green Prescription assisted me in my journey to a quality lifestyle I never thought possible.

I am a 56 year old grandmother who has beaten the odds and survived two major operations since December 1999.

Up until that period of time my health had reached an all time low. My weight had soared to 155kg as a result of a large tumour. In general my health was medically described as 'grave'.

After surgery my nurse and G.P. introduced me to the Green Prescription programme and Sport Manawatu who could provide support for me. As a patient in recovery I was prescribed physical activities that suited my needs.


Lovey Hodginkinson after her Green Prescription
After
I started swimming and walking and my lifestyle has changed dramatically. Since my last surgery in August 2000 I have lost 50kg. I am now totally enjoying life and my family. As a tribute to my family I have re-entered Te Wananga O Raukawa in Otaki to complete by Bachelor Studies in Design and Art and Bachelor in Matauranga Maori as a full time student.

Last but not least I have recently returned to the work force teaching literacy and numeracy programmes part time.


Walking Her Way to Health

Karen Dance can't believe the difference a walking has made to her life. After injuring her back in 1987 she was prescribed Voltarin and painkillers to ease the pain. She was also told lose weight to aid recovery. She tried the gym and swimming but found that without proper advice and training these exercises just created more problems.

In June 2000 Karen's GP, Doctor Helen Loan, issued her with a Green Prescription that just involved walking. Sport Waikato contacted Karen after she received her Green Prescription and she said it was excellent to "just have someone to talk to" about her health problems and her desire to get more active. Instead of driving all the way to work Karen started walking half way. She increased this distance and now hardly ever uses the car. Karen has stuck to her Green Prescription and so far has walked off 18 1/2 kilos, half way to her goal weight!

Walking and Weight Watchers - A Recipe for Success

Concerned about her ever increasing weight last Christmas and constantly dealing with headaches and a lack of motivation, Noelene put off making changes to her lifestyle.

"I was always 'too busy' working and taking my kids to sports practice. I didn't have any time for myself. I was constantly tired and doing no exercise. In January joined Weight Watchers, weighing in at 112 kg. In May I was also diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

"When approached by my Practice Nurse at the North Shore Clinic and asked if I wanted a Green Prescription, I said I would give anything a go. I had heard about Green Prescriptions on the radio but had been too scared to ask my GP about them in case I got a 'growling'."

Six months after starting her prescribed exercise, Noelene has shed 20 kilos and is regularly walking to the shops to run her errands. Gone are the days of driving to the shops after work: Noelene parks up at home and walks. She receives regular newsletters and, with a little more weight loss, she will join a regular exercise class recommended by Sport North Harbour.

"I now watch my diet carefully for both my weight and diabetes. These both keep me on the straight and narrow. I have found my cheek bones and hip bones and now my stomach does not stick out further than my bust!"

Noelene's lifestyle changes have certainly added life to her years.

Dealing with Diabetes

"Morgan came to Sport Eastland back in March 2000 having being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and wanting to do something about his weight. He felt that he was wasting his life away by being so inactive and it was time to do something about it.

He began his Green Prescription by making simple lifestyle changes throughout the day and recorded everything he did that required him to be physically active. He has been visiting Sport Eastland every Friday for the past 10 weeks to tell of his progress and any concerns.

Back in the first month it took Morgan 30 minutes to walk from his house and he had to stop and rest a couple of times. Now takes him less than 15 minutes, walking continuously. He comes bouncing in the door filled with confidence.

Morgan has progressed from recording simple activity in his day to planning his own weekly exercise regime - three 40 minute walks per week, home based strength exercise programmes and a visit to the fitness trainer at the YMCA.

In addition to this Morgan has various other appointments within the week such as attending the Turanga Health Kaumatua Hui. Not only has he become more active, he has made changes to his diet and a combination of the two has helped reduce both his weight and blood sugar levels."

Sisterly Love

When Margaret Berry was given a GRx from Dr Eliot at Casebrook Surgery, she was fortunate enough to have sisterly help on her side. Even before Lisa Gregory, the GRx co-ordinator at Sport Canterbury had contacted her new patient, Margaret had already employed the services of her sister in law to show her the ropes when it came to walking.

Margaret's sister, already an avid walker gladly assisted and now meets with Margaret 3 to 4 days a week to walk for up to an hour. Even through the tough times with a severe shoulder injury, Margaret still made sure she exercised and is now considering venturing into the great aquacise program that QEII offer.

Margaret is feeling great and the reduction in her blood pressure is evidence that she is on the right track. It certainly goes to show that exercise can become a healthy habit and having family to be involved is an added bonus.

Green goal achieved

Jenny Mullis has proven that Green Prescriptions certainly can lead to bigger and better things.

Spurred on by her own motivation, not to let her respiratory problem dominate her life, Jenny contacted Sport Canterbury after reading about Green Prescriptions in the paper. Jenny was already exercising when her health permitted, and also decided to try the respiratory relief class recommended to her. Jenny found this class to be beneficial along with her walking.

Earlier this year Jenny set herself a big goal - to complete the City to Surf walk at the end of March. Everything was going well for Jenny, when at the end of February she had a setback. A bad asthma attack sidelined her for about 3 weeks and she didn't think she was going to be able to attempt the walk.

Due to her determination, Jenny recovered quickly and her GP gave her the all clear to attempt the course. She contacted Sport Canterbury to tell the team that she had completed the course in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Goal achieved!

GRx success story

Stewart Collingwood is a successful businessman from the North Shore of Auckland.

In January he was given a wake up call from his doctor. Stewart knew he was overweight, suffering from high blood pressure and cholesterol, a heart attack waiting to happen. His doctor gave him the choice of either taking pills for his health problems or a Green Prescription. Stewart opted for a Green Prescription. "I wanted to improve my health once and for all. I just need an incentive to do something about it."

Stewart now walks every day, always walks the seven flights of stairs to and from his car each day, and takes long leisurely walks with his wife in the weekend. Sport North Harbour supplied him with support material and suggestions on a home physical activity programme.

Eight weeks later, Stewart has lost 14kg while he has been on a Green Prescription, and has moved two notches in on his belt. "I am feeling great, and am happy to be alive. I was starting to feel very tired carrying the extra weight, my Green Prescription has given me a new lease on life."

Mrs Pat Palmer, a 65 year old from Whangarei who looks after her 90-year-old mother, was given a green prescriptions in February this year. At the time, Pat was feeling depressed about her weight and had arthritis problems in her knees and ankles.

Her GP prescribed the local KiwiSeniors group and Pat started walking regularly. Within six months Pat had lost 10 kilograms and is now looking and feeling great. Pat highly recommends the Green Prescriptions programme.

"I was given excellent service and received the encouragement and motivation to continue. The follow-up has been really appreciated."



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