Green Prescription Active Families Survey Report: 2016

Green Prescription Active Families Survey Report: …
01 May 2016
Green Prescription Active Families Survey Report: …
01 May 2016

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 15 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.  1075 children and their families were referred to the programme during 2014/15 mainly referred by GPs and paediatricians. Families are able to refer themselves to the programme

This is the eighth annual survey, the sixth conducted on behalf of the Ministry, the others conducted by SPARC before the transfer of GRx to the Ministry in July 2009. The questionnaire is distributed to programme participants approximately six months after entry into the programme.


This is the ninth annual assessment and eighth monitor of the effectiveness of the Ministry’s 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 2016 survey is the same as that developed for SPARC in 2008 and repeated in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The survey was administered as a self-completion 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 co-ordinators 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 2015 to April 2016. Responses were received from all Active Families contract holders.

A total of n=226 valid responses have been received in 2015 - 2016. This represents a response rate of 69 percent for 2015 - 2016. The table below shows the valid responses from previous years.

Year Valid Responses
2014-2015 208
2013-2014 197
2012-2013 133
2011-2012 138
2010-2011 123
2009-2010 149
2008-2009 102
2007-2008 90

It is 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.

Due to the relatively small samples year to year, there are no statistically significant differences between the 2015 - 2016 and 2014 – 2015 surveys.

Note: the relatively low number of responses means that sub-group sample sizes are too small for meaningful comparisons to be made. Therefore, further analysis of sub-groups of participants and Active Families contract holders has not been undertaken.

Key Results

  • 83 % of participants are more active since receiving their GRx and 69% have encouraged other family members to get more active
  • 87% 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
  • 88% 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:
‘It has been life changing for our daughter and our family. Thank you’.
‘Excellent for our whanau and our community’.
‘Gives great advice and tips without making us feel bad about getting into our situation in the first place. Very encouraging’.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018