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Jumpstart goes national to support diabetes health

February 17, 2017

The successful diabetes health programme Jumpstart is to expand across New Zealand with programmes having started in Wellington and Invercargill on 7th February, and set to commence in Christchurch on 1st May.

Founded by YMCA Auckland and healthcare company Pharmaco (NZ) Ltd, Jumpstart is an exercise, nutrition and lifestyle education programme for people with diabetes and has helped over 500 people in Auckland and Hamilton in the last two years.

Jumpstart provides practical ways and advice to help people self-manage their health alongside the support and care received from health professionals.

One in four people are pre-diabetic and at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes1 and there are over 260,000 people with diabetes2, more than double the number in 2005.

Peter Fergusson, Chief Executive of YMCA Auckland, says the aim is to add more programmes in the future, stating “by the middle of this year Jumpstart will be available at 15 of New Zealand’s 26 YMCA gyms but diabetes is an issue in all communities, and is growing quickly, so we still have work to do to push it further around the country.

“The numbers of people living with this condition is increasing at about 7% per year3 with around 40 new cases diagnosed a day and it’s estimated to be currently costing the country $1.3bn a year4. These are frightening statistics considering most diabetes cases are avoidable through better nutrition, exercise and lifestyle.

“The Ministry of Health has made bold steps through strategies like ‘Living Well with Diabetes4’ and the ‘New Zealand Health Strategy’ to encourage people to help themselves. Programmes like Jumpstart fit well with this trend.”

Jumpstart is a 10-week programme operating all year round, with many people referred through GPs and Green Prescriptions. It was launched in 2014 after Peter Fergusson discussed the issue with Chandra Selvadurai, Managing Director of Pharmaco, a specialist healthcare sales and marketing company supplying blood glucose meters across New Zealand.

Selvadurai says the two organisations have a joint vision to help alleviate the biggest health issue New Zealand faces and support people to limit the effects of diabetes so they can enjoy better health, adding “Jumpstart helps people to self-manage their health and gives them hope.

“The confidence we see growing in participants is inspiring and results from people working as peers and in groups. The experience improves people’s self-esteem, helps their health and contributes to saving precious healthcare budget.”

Jumpstart is taught by YMCA’s trained fitness staff and includes education about nutrition, supermarket shopping, foot care, physical activity, changing habits and lifestyle, motivation and goal setting to help manage their health.

The programme costs $80 with subsidies available for those who might struggle with the cost.

Common results include weight loss, lower waist measurements and blood pressure, improved mental health and confidence about a healthy future. The programme helps get people moving, no matter their size. Most people improve their fitness and overall quality of life in only a few weeks of starting.

For those who are pre-diabetic exercise and lifestyle programmes, like Jumpstart, can help delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

With much of the programme taught in groups there is a high level of community, friendship and peer group support.

The programme was piloted in 2013 involving a number of different PHOs, including ProCare, and community groups, such as the Tongan Health Society and then launched in 2014 in Auckland.

For more information go to www.jumpstartprogramme.co.nz

Image: Jumpstart at YMCA Auckland City

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