Media Release - 20/11/08
The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) is supporting its staff to make healthy lifestyle choices with a revamped website that offers nutrition and physical activity ideas and a chance to ‘talk to an expert’.
Although the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) website, which was launched this week, is currently aimed at CDHB staff, it will eventually be expanded so other organisations can use it to encourage their staff to make healthy lifestyle choices.
The CDHB, in collaboration with Sport Canterbury, has also recently appointed Hayley Shearer to the new role of HEAL facilitator, a two-year contract. The role is funded by the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Eating Healthy Action (HEHA) programme, which is administered locally by the CDHB. It will involve looking at how staff at two CDHB sites, The Princess Margaret Hospital and Christchurch Women’s Hospital, can be supported to participate regularly in physical activity and to eat healthily.
The two new initiatives fall under the umbrella of the CDHB’s HEAL programme, which was established by its Community and Public Health division in 2004. As a major health provider, it aims to provide an environment for staff that helps them to maintain a healthy weight, eat healthily and to take part in physical activity.
Community and Public Health Health Promoter Nicola Crossley, a HEAL Working Party Member, said the goal of the website was to make it as easy as possible for staff to access healthy recipes and to find out what physical activity opportunities are available in Canterbury.
“It’s doing all the leg work for them and making sure the healthy choice is the easy choice. We want to encourage our staff to be good role models for the community and to make healthy lifestyle choices that they can sustain long term. They also have the opportunity to email an onsite dietitian or someone who can give them advice about physical activity,” she says.
Hayley Shearer says CDHB staff at The Princess Margaret and Christchurch Women’s Hospitals are currently being surveyed about their physical activity and nutrition needs. A plan for how the service should be rolled out will be developed by early next year. Options could include subsidised physical activity classes, cooking classes or organised walking groups. Other HEAL working party members are also investigating what opportunities could be offered at other hospitals.
Ms Shearer said the link between the CDHB and Sport Canterbury will have benefits for staff. “We envisage a number of exciting opportunities available for staff around nutrition and physical activity with such strong collaboration between Sport Canterbury and the HEAL Working Party,” she says.
CDHB staff will also be the first in the country to be invited to complete a survey to gauge their current attitudes and behaviours around physical activity and nutrition in and around the workplace. The survey has been designed for NZ Well@Work, part of the Government’s Walking the Talk, a joint initiative between SPARC and the Ministry of Health. The survey will be repeated in two years to measure the worth of any wellness initiatives that are introduced.
initiatives implemented so far include ensuring healthy food
choices make up 70% of what is available in vending machines in
all CDHB hospitals, and encouraging staff to take part in events
such as the City 2 Surf and Sea 2 Sea.