Green Prescription and nutrition support in New Zealand : exploring the lay of the land : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
Background. New Zealand has high rates of chronic disease such as diabetes. Modifiable lifestyle factors such as physical activity and diet are supported in research in reducing the risk of these conditions. Green Prescription (GRx), an initiative implemented in New Zealand, has largely focused on supporting physical activity, but there is indication that provision of nutrition support occurs among various providers. GRx may be able to provide nutrition support in the community, but the current situation has had little investigation. Objectives. 1). To conduct a survey with GRx staff exploring the scope of nutrition support currently available from GRx providers in New Zealand. 2). To develop a basis for future investigation to determine the opportunities for the provision of nutrition support in the community focusing on preventative health. Method. Staff from 17 GRx providers in New Zealand were invited to complete an anonymous online survey. Survey questions investigated if nutrition support was provided, if so by whom, what it entailed and if GRx personnel were qualified and supported to conduct these duties. Respondents were invited to share their perspectives on both benefits and concerns about providing nutrition support in GRx. Results. Forty-six respondents from 15 GRx providers completed surveys. Physical activity makes up more than 50% of GRx programmes, while nutrition support makes up 31% on average. Nearly three times as many personnel qualifications specialised in physical activity as nutrition. Most respondents indicated they have professional development opportunities for nutrition. Nearly all respondents indicated nutrition support has high importance for clients. Eighty percent identified multiple benefits in providing nutrition support and concerns about resources, knowledge and support were noted. Conclusion. Physical activity remains the key focus for GRx programmes, however nutrition support is perceived as being important for health and contributes an average of 31% to programmes. Many providers have personnel with nutrition qualifications but not in designated roles. Opportunities for professional development are indicated but need more clarification. Further investigation into provision of resources and personnel support is warranted.
Green Prescription, GRx, nutrition support, situation analysis