The Get Healthy Service is being independently evaluated by the ‘Prevention Research Collaboration’, the University of Sydney, in collaboration with the University of Technology and the University of Queensland.
If you are thinking about referring a patient to the Get Healthy Service and would like some more information about its success, read on.
- Evidence supports the effectiveness of telephone-based programs.
- Telephone counselling services can be effective in the short to medium term (3 to 6 months).
- Offering an intervention that is 6-12 months in duration is more effective than an intervention offered for < 6 months.
- Effective telephone-based programs should be individualised and based on evidence-based behavioural change theories.
- A service that includes other components (e.g. print materials, other support mediums) is more effective than a stand-alone telephone-based service.
- Telephone is a reliable tool that most people have access to.
Baseline to 6 Months
Participants who have completed the 6-month Get Healthy Service coaching program have reported significant improvements, helping them achieve great results. These include:
- An average weight loss of 3.9kg
- An average loss of 5cm off their waist
- An increase in the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed daily
- A decrease in the amount of take away meals consumed per week
- A decrease in the amount of sweetened drinks consumed daily, such as soft drinks, cordials and fruit juices
- An increase in physical activity levels
The following table shows anthropometric and behavioural risk factor changes from baseline to 6-months.
|Weight (kg) ¥||1377||86.4||82.5||-3.9||**|
|BMI (kg/m2) ¥||1377||31.4||29.9||-1.4||**|
|Waist circumference (cm) ¥||1057||101.5||96.5||-5.0||**|
|Fruit (daily serves) €||1384||1.7||2.0||+0.3||**|
|Vegetables (daily serves) €||1356||2.8||3.8||+1.0||**|
|Sweetened drinks (daily serves) €||1361||0.4||0.1||-0.3||**|
|Takeaway meals (weekly serves) €||1356||0.8||0.3||-0.5||**|
|Walking (no. 30min sessions per week) €||1392||2.6||3.6||+1.0||**|
|Moderate physical activity (no. 30min sessions per week) €||1332||1.1||1.6||+0.5||**|
|Vigorous physical activity (no. 20min sessions per week) €||1355||0.4||0.9||+0.5||**|
** significant at p<0.001; matched pair analysis; ¥ T-test undertaken for matched paired samples for significant mean difference; € Non parametric test undertaken for related samples for significant median difference.
12 Months after Baseline
A 6-month follow up study (6 months after completing coaching and 12 months from baseline) showed that anthropometric improvements made at the completion of the coaching program were maintained for a further 6 months (12 months from baseline). These include:
- Significant decreases in weight
- Significant improvements in waist circumference
- Significant decreases in Body Mass Index
- Increased fruit consumption
- Improvements in the proportion of participants undertaking recommended levels of physical activity from baseline to 12-months (increase of 5.2%), however the improvements made at end of the coaching program were not maintained at the 6-month follow up.
- Degree of improvement in vegetable consumption obtained at the end of the coaching program was not maintained.
- After adjusting for baseline levels and socio-demographic variables, the coaching program had significant maintenance effects for all anthropometric measurements and for fruit consumption.
The figure below demonstrates the proportion of Get Healthy Service coaching participants who are classified as being a healthy weight and with ‘no risk’ waist circumference after completing the coaching program and at 6-months post follow up (12 months from baseline).
The Importance of Health Professional Referrals
A study examining the profile of Get Healthy Service participants (who had completed the program)has shown some important differences in relation to the socio-demographic and risk factors based on their “source of referral”:
- Participants referred by health professionals (including GPs) are more likely to complete the 6 month coaching program than those who are self-referred.
- A greater proportion of coaching participants referred by a GP was classified as obese (76.6%) and had a greatly increased waist circumference risk (88.6%) than those who are self-referred.
- 78.7% of participants referred by a health professional were from the lowest two quintiles of advantage.
These findings emphasise the important role that GPs and other health practitioners have in referring clients to the GHS. Furthermore it was noted that GPs and other Health Professionals can target those in the community who are most at need of the assistance that the Get Healthy Service can offer, both in terms of a client’s socio-demographic profile and their risk factor profile
Further evaluation results can be found in The story of the NSW Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service: An effective service with population health impact and reach which is available for download here.