A Healthy Choice, SA Healthy Towns Challenge Grant Winner 2018/19

SA Healthy Towns 2018-19 - Rural Environments and Cardiovascular Health

Formerly known as Rural Environments and Cardiovascular Health (REACH)

Applying organisation

The Community Co-operative Store (Nuriootpa) Pty Ltd

Towns/communities where project is situated

Barossa region

Grant purpose

To increase the community’s motivation and capacity to be active and eat healthy food within a supportive community context.

Target population

Adults in the Barossa region.

External partner and their role

University of SA (UniSA): Exercise Physiology and Health Sciences students from the UniSA Clinical Placement Unit were trained in conducting health assessments and providing healthy lifestyle advice for Barossa residents. The university also advised on promotional activities to increase ongoing participation in the health checks and contributed to the program evaluation.

Project outcomes

The project focused on improving cardiovascular health of rural adults in the community through free ‘Health Age’ assessments linked to individual advice about making healthier lifestyle choices. This was supported with a community-wide campaign called ‘A Healthy Choice’ – helping people make healthier choices with their food purchases.

Free health assessments with individualised advice for adults were conducted by UniSA clinical placement health students. The assessments used the ‘health age’, an evidence-based gamification tool, to compare health age to chronological age, which allows modelling to identify how changes in physical activity and food choices can impact on health age.

The ‘A Healthy Choice’ campaign informed the community of the benefits of healthier food choices, through identifying healthier products in the supermarket with shelf wobblers, monthly supermarket tours including food label reading, and fortnightly cooking demonstrations run by a local dietitian.

The campaign and supportive materials, such as healthy recipes, were distributed via local newspapers (both print and online), an online blog, social media and Barossa Co-op member newsletters.

The Co-op plans to maintain and further develop the program, including expanding the program into other stores beyond the supermarket.

Photo courtesy of The Co-op