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Open Access Research article

Effectiveness of Australia’s Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service®: maintenance of self-reported anthropometric and behavioural changes after program completion

Blythe J O’Hara1*, Philayrath Phongsavan1, Elizabeth G Eakin2, Elizabeth Develin3, Joanne Smith3, Mark Greenaway1 and Adrian E Bauman1

Author Affiliations

1 Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, Medical Foundation Building, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia

2 Cancer Prevention Research Centre, School of Population Health, Herston Road, Herston, University of Queensland, Queensland, 4006, Australia

3 NSW Ministry of Health, 73 Miller Street, North Sydney, NSW, 2060, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:175  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-175

Published: 26 February 2013

Abstract

Background

The Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service® (GHS) is a population-wide telephone-based program aimed at assisting adults to implement lifestyle improvements. It is a relatively uncommon example of the translation of efficacious trials to up-scaled real-world application. GHS participants who completed the 6-month coaching program made significant initial improvements to their weight, waist circumference, Body Mass Index (BMI), physical activity and nutrition behaviours. This study examines the maintenance of anthropometric and behaviour change improvements 6-months after program completion.

Methods

GHS coaching participants (n=1088) were recruited between February 2009 and June 2011. Participants were eligible if they completed the 6-month coaching program and had available data at 12-month follow-up (n=277). Weight, waist circumference, BMI, fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity were collected at baseline and 6-months by GHS coaches and 12-months (6-months post program) by independent evaluators. Matched pair t-tests, mixed linear regression and logistic regression analyses were performed to assess maintenance of program effects.

Results

Improvements in weight (−2.9 kg, 95% CI: -3.6, -2.1), waist circumference (−5.4 cm, 95% CI: -6.7, -4.1), BMI (−1.1units, 95% CI: -1.5, -0.8), and fruit (+0.3 serves per day, 95% CI: 0.2, 0.3) and vegetable (+0.5 serves per day 95% CI: 0.3, 0.6) consumption were observed from baseline to 12-months. Apart from vegetable consumption, there were no significant differences between 6-month and 12-month changes from baseline, indicating these risk factor improvements were maintained from the end of the coaching program. There were also improvements in the proportion of participants undertaking recommended levels of physical activity from baseline to 12-months (increase of 5.2%), however the improvements made at end of the coaching program were not maintained at the 6-month follow up.

Conclusions

This study provides preliminary evidence that the GHS has potential to contribute to substantial improvements in the chronic disease risk factor profile of program completers and facilitates sustained maintenance six months after completing the coaching program.