September 6, 2016
Thank you to Diabetes Victoria for writing this guest post on the Life! program. Diabetes Victoria is the leading charity and peak consumer body working to reduce the impact of diabetes.
Statistics about type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke in Australia are alarming, and preventing these serious conditions has never been more important.
- Every day almost 280 people develop diabetes,
- every 12 minutes someone dies of cardiovascular disease
- one in every six people is likely to suffer a stroke.
Being active, maintaining a healthy weight and eating healthy and balanced meals can are just some of the simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk.
Life! Helping you prevent diabetes, heart disease and stroke
The Life! program is a lifestyle modification program that helps people reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Run by expert health professionals, the program is delivered as a Group Course or an individual Telephone Health Coaching service. Participants learn more about healthy eating, reading food labels, nutrition, exercise, stress management and goal setting.
The Life! group course involves a one-on-one introductory session and five group sessions run across a six month period. Courses are available in most metropolitan and regional communities and the group environment provides support and motivation to help people reach their goals.
Telephone Health Coaching
The Life! telephone health coaching service consists of six telephone calls – one introductory session and five health coaching call sessions – over a six month period. Your personal health coach supports you to keep motivated and on track for success.
Diana enrolled in the Life! program after finding out from her GP that she was at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. She joined her local group course and lost 12 kilograms – and she didn’t find it difficult.
“The Life! program really worked for me. Just by being committed to achieving a series of small goals, I got the results I wanted, not by going on a diet but by integrating a whole new lifestyle that now feels natural and normal to me. However, the real gift of the Life! program has been a psychological one. It’s taught me that you should never give up and you should always do the best for yourself. Life! is a fantastic vehicle for doing that.”
Life Facilitator Profile
Meet Dung, one of our passionate Life! group course facilitators. Dung is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and has been a Life! facilitator since the program began in Victoria. Dung currently delivers group courses in St Albans.
What do you enjoy most about being a Life! facilitator?
I enjoy working with the prevention model and helping people to take control of their health by providing them with the skills and knowledge to do so. I also enjoy being able to allow participants in the group to share their knowledge and experience to empower and motivate other members of the group to make positive changes to their life.
Could you share any particular success stories or memorable participants?
Many participants have really benefited from the program. One of my most memorable groups was an all-male group who developed tight bonds with each other. One of the participants in this group was an engineer who let his eating habits and physical activity regime slip due to his work commitments. By the end of the group he had made changes to the types and amounts of food he ate and had joined the local bicycle group. He was riding for about 1 hour 3 times a week. He also managed to get the other participants in the group to join the group and ride socially.
What are some of the common challenges your participants face?
The common challenges the participants face include not having support to make changes. For example, different family members having different food choices making it difficult to cater for all people. Being limited in their ability to engage in physical activity due to health condition or physical constraints can also be a challenge. In this case, we talk about less sitting time and seeing physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.
What advice would you give someone thinking about doing the Life! program?
I would say to give it a go. People who have done the program have really enjoyed the support of being in a group. The program is not just about education but also helping people to set steps to achieve their goals, improve their health and reduce their risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Visit www.lifeprogram.org.au or call 13RISK (13 74 75)
 National Diabetes Services Scheme www.ndss.com.au/data-snapshots Statistical Snapshot as at 31 March, 2015.
 www.heartfoundation.org.au Cardiovascular Disease Data and Statistics
 www.strokefoundation.com.au. “Stroke – nothing has changed. Still the nation’s second biggest cause of death.” 25 June 2012
The HealthWest blog gives our members a chance to discuss issues and share their work, including challenges, solutions and reflections.
These views may not necessarily reflect those of HealthWest Partnership.