The Green Prescription (GRx) Active Families programme has grown out of the nationwide GRx initiative for adults, responding to requests from primary care for something similar for children and young people. There are 14 contract holders throughout NZ. There must be commitment from the family for involvement in the programme and a willingness to improve their nutrition and increase physical activity. Criteria for admittance to the programme is an inactive child with a BMI of over 25. Over 900 children from 800 families, were referred to the programme during 2009/2010, mainly referred by GPs with most families being Māori and Pacific from low socioeconomic areas. This is the third annual survey, the first conducted on behalf of the Ministry, the others conducted by SPARC before the transfer of GRx to the Ministry in July 2009.
This is the third annual assessment of the effectiveness of the Ministry of Health GRx Active Families (Active Families) programme. The Ministry commissioned Research New Zealand to collate and analyse results from a survey of participants to get views about how well the programme worked for them, in terms of helping those children and families referred to it become more active, and to get their feedback on the advice and support provided through the programme.
The 2010 survey is the same as that developed for SPARC in 2008, and repeated in 2009.
The survey was administered as a selfcompletion questionnaire, with the contract holders from each region taking responsibility for distributing and collecting the questionnaires. As in previous years, the questionnaire was distributed to participants in the Active Families programme approximately six months after their entry to the programme, by Active Families coordinators in regions where the programme is run. Returns were received on a regular, approximately monthly, basis.
These findings represent responses received over the period from July 2009 to April 2010. Some n=149 valid responses have been received in 2010, compared with n=102 in 2009, and n=90 responses in 2008. This represents a response rate of 33.4 percent for 2010. While the sample size is larger this year, the relatively low number of responses means that subgroup sample sizes are too small for meaningful comparisons to be made. Therefore, further analysis of subgroups of respondents has not been undertaken. It is further noted that throughout this report references will be made to the "child" and "children", which will encompass all children and young people who are referred to the programme.
Significant differences (where found) between 2010 and 2009 results are highlighted throughout this report in the discussion of results of various questions.
Main survey points are:
- 79% of participants are more active since receiving their GRx and 71% have encouraged other family members to get more active
- 95% of families have made changes to their diets, mainly less sugary food and drink, eating fewer takeaways, more fruit and vegetables
- 97% are now more aware of and understand the benefits of physical activity
- 93% of participants have noticed health changes including: willingness to try new activities, more energy and confidence, weight loss and less medication.
Satisfaction with the service (activity and nutrition sessions and home visits) is very high at 96%, with comments such as "my whole family is much happier and healthier" and "both my daughters are now very active, fit and lost so much weight".