Western Cape Government’s Walk4Health Reaches Halfway Mark
The Western Cape’s Walk4Health pilot challenge, to promote healthy lifestyles in the province through increased physical activity and healthy eating, has reached the halfway mark and the teams are challenging each other to greater heights more than ever.
After week three, the teams from the departments of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Education and Local Government are at the top of the leader board (the Department of Education has been at the top of the leader board since week one of the challenge).
In the individual challenge, the ranking is not based on the total steps achieved, but on the percentage of steps achieved beyond their personal weekly targets. The top three individual performers are announced weekly.
Theuns Botha, Western Cape Minister of Health, said: “Through the Walk4Health initiative, the department wants to move away from treating illness and disease to prevention, promotion and wellness. This is in keeping with the World Health Organisation’s definition of health being not merely the absence of disease but a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing. It’s about fulfilling one’s full potential in life.”
The pilot project was endorsed by the Provincial Cabinet and entails a six-week interdepartmental pedometer challenge, which started on 4 October, involving all departments within Western Cape Government. Each of these departments is represented by a four-member team comprising the Premier or the respective minister, head of department or senior manager, an employee and an intern.
Prior to the start of the challenge, each participant completed a confidential health and physical assessment. The assessment included Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure (BP), cholesterol, blood glucose resting pulse and a 12-minute motion test conducted by experts at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA). Based on the results, each team member was prescribed individualised weekly steps targets, which are stretched incrementally every week during the challenge.
Team members were also provided with pedometers to wear on a daily basis to count their steps and help them achieve their respective personalised step targets. The readings are recorded and points awarded accordingly – one point is awarded when reaching a personal target and a bonus point is granted when adequately stretching beyond the target.
The team-challenge is ending on 3 November with the SSISA -driven Move for Your Health fun walk in Rondebosch, but the individual challenge will end on 15 November 2013. A confidential post-challenge health and physical assessment will be conducted again by the SSISA experts – so giving each participant an updated health profile on the e|Care portal.
Follow @Walk4HealthWC on Twitter for all the latest inside scoop.
- The Walk4Health initiative; a partnership between Western Cape Government, the Sport Science Institute of South Africa, the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, ICAS\HealthInSite e|Care, UCT’s Research Unit for Behavioural Economics and Neuroeconomics (RUBEN) and ideas42 with additional sponsorship from Discovery Vitality, and Ubuntu Touch; was officially launched by Premier Helen Zille on 1 October 2013 at the Nico Malan Hall, Groote Schuur Hospital.
- The challenge forms part of the provincial strategic objective of increasing wellness.
- The partners all share the same vision of promoting a culture of health and wellness.
- Western Cape Government Health will donate R5 000 for every participating government team to a Walk4Health charity fund. The winning team will nominate a charity to whom this fund will be donated.
- The winning team and top three individual participants will receive awards at the prize giving ceremony which is scheduled for 25 November 2013.
- Promoting healthy lifestyles is a major priority for Western Cape Government Health, to prevent and successfully reduce the burden of non communicable diseases (NCDs) in the province. In the Western Cape, 17 to 25% of the burden of disease is attributed to NCDs. NCDs also account for more than a third of all deaths in South Africa.
- To successfully address this problem, it is critical that every citizen within the province commits themselves to creating a culture of wellness in their communities. The participants in the Walk4Health project are grabbing the opportunity to lead by example and encourage commitment from all levels of society.
- The Western Cape Government, through the Department of the Premier, has partnered with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and ideas42 for the design of policy interventions based on the principles of behavioural economics. This pedometer challenge forms one of the pilots of the ‘Changing Behaviour’ projects, with the others including interventions in safety, after-school programmes, climate change and intergenerational sex. This pilot seeks to improve wellness in our society by promoting regular exercise.