The Healthy Eating Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL™) program is a lifestyle modification program that enables participants to develop lifelong healthy eating and physical activity behaviours. HEAL™ consists of 8 weekly group education and group exercise sessions as well as individual consultations pre- and post-program and 5 and 12 month follow-up health consultations. Each week participants undertake 1 hour of supervised group-based low to moderate intensity physical activity followed by a 1 hour group-based healthy lifestyle education class. The HEAL™ program was developed by Sydney South West GP Link who conducted programs in the South Western Sydney area for 10 years. HEAL™ is now administered by South Western Sydney PHN. ESSA is a HEAL™ regional licence holder.
The program assists people who are overweight, or obese, with existing chronic disease or at risk of developing chronic disease to improve their health and well-being by providing lifestyle education with a focus on improving nutrition and physical activity and promoting self-management. Persons at risk of developing, or with existing diabetes, heart diseases or other conditions are examples of some of the participants that can attend HEAL™.
Patients can be referred to the HEAL™ program for Type 2 diabetes group services. This involves an individual assessment by the Exercise Physiologist or Dietitian, followed by 8 group exercise/education classes. To be eligible, patients must have Type 2 Diabetes and a GP Management Plan. These group sessions are in addition to the 5 individual allied health services available under Medicare. Patients with chronic disease risk factors may also be referred to the HEAL™ program. Eligible patients include those:
GPs and Practice Nurses are encouraged to download the GP and Practice Nurse Guide and in particular refer to the ‘How do I refer a patient to HEAL™?’ flowchart for more information.
If you have questions about any aspect of the HEAL™ program please contact the National Coordinator Daniel Berkelmans
Allied health professionals can play an important role in assisting GPs to improve the health and quality of life of their patients. They are able to provide detailed education and advice, assist with realistic goal setting, promote self-management and follow up with GPs and their patients to maximise patient care.
HEAL™ programs are facilitated by university trained allied health professionals such as exercise physiologists, dietitians, practice nurses and community health workers with a health science degree.
Public information on HEAL™