A free preventative health initiative is being rolled out across regional and rural South Australia to help those who are overweight, at risk of chronic disease or who already have one or more chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

HEALTM – the Healthy Eating Activity and Lifestyle program – is being delivered by a range of service providers with support from Country SA PHN through its After Hours Preventative Health grants.

HEALTM aims to empower participants to take responsibility for their individual health by focusing on behaviour modification principles during an eight-week program. Based on a non-dieting weight management approach, it aims to change attitudes to dietary fads and gimmicks.

“The long-term objective of HEALTM is to help patients avoid escalating poor health conditions as well as preventable hospital admissions,” Country SA PHN CEO Kim Hosking said.

“This is another important preventative health program providing access to quality care in an after-hours setting. By encouraging positive behaviour change, it will help participants improve their overall health as well as decreasing risk factors that contribute to chronic conditions.”

The HEALTM program focuses on nutrition, physical activity and psychology and addresses behaviour modification and goal setting.

HEALTM participants are screened by a Registered Nurse or Allied Health Professional pre and post the program, with follow up at five and 12 months after it has been completed. During the program participants take part in two-hour sessions held weekly.

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP said the program provides an important health service for local communities.

“I would certainly encourage those who are overweight, have a chronic disease or are at risk of getting a chronic disease to get in touch with their GP and see if they are eligible for the fantastic support this program offers,” he said.

To find out whether you are eligible to take part in the HEALTM program, speak to your GP (referral required). For more information, visit www.countrysaphn.com.au




The HEAL™ program was developed by Macarthur Division of General Practice (MDGP) and has been conducted in South Western Sydney since 1999. In 2003 the program was expanded to incorporate group exercise sessions in addition to its group education sessions. In 2010, MDGP and Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) became a National Program Grant recipient under the Commonwealth funded Healthy Communities Initiative to expand and make the HEAL™ program available nationally to allied health practitioners, health services and Councils in need of accessing a proven, accredited lifestyle modification program and making it available within community settings.


About Country SA PHN

Country SA PHN is responsible for commissioning Commonwealth directed funding for primary health services throughout regional South Australia. It is the health network set up to service the country regions of South Australia, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery while improving the coordination of patient care. Established by the Australian Government, we exist to bridge the gap of health inequity and access in rural South Australia by building a collaborative and responsive health care system. Country SA PHN covers 99.8% of the state geographically, incorporating approximately 30% of South Australia’s total population. For more information go to www.countrysaphn.com.au


Contact: Courtney Stephens 8531 2466