HealtheSteps is a program that gives participants a personalized exercise prescription with simple goals for increasing their physical activity and improving their health. The project aims to improve individual lifestyle behaviours and health, clinical practice patterns, investments in health technologies, and policy decisions, with the ultimate goal to reduce the growing economic burden of chronic disease on health care systems. Researchers hope to explore how the program can operate and be adapted for northern communities.
The project is based on research conducted by Dr. Rob Petrella (Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Canada) and other members of the HealtheSteps Network. During this eight month program, participants complete an easy fitness assessment and answer questions with a program coach.
Afterward, they are given a prescription that is tailored to their habits and needs. Goals are set using realistic increments, such as increasing exercise by 15 minutes per week, and coaches provide suggestions and strategies to help participants meet their goals. Participants do their best to fulfill their prescription and track their health behaviours, then follow up with coaches within 2-3 months. This project is set to start in the winter of 2015 in Fort Smith, in partnership with the Fort Smith Recreation and Community Centre, and in Yellowknife where staff and students from the Aurora College Nursing program are eager to participate.
This project is ongoing. For current results click here.