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Osteoarthritis program improving the lives of participants

A number of nib customers living with osteoarthritis have started 2015 with a renewed sense of wellbeing thanks to the Be Good To Yourself (BGTY) program that was developed in conjunction with Sigma Pharmaceuticals, operator of the Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian pharmacies nationwide.

Around 100 nib customers were offered the opportunity to take part in a free pilot program through four pharmacies that aimed to help improve their condition and overall health through weight loss and increased activity.

Acknowledging that losing and maintaining weight loss can be difficult, the BGTY pilot program used qualified pharmacy wellness coaches, exercise psychologists and nib's dietitians to support and mentor participants.

John and Patricia Collinson signed up to the program together at Corrimal Court Guardian Pharmacy, north of Wollongong, which resulted in them collectively losing 28 kilograms. The couple have not only experienced positive weight loss and reduced pain but both have far more energy.

"We love to go rock-and-roll dancing, but in the past have struggled to keep up and lasted only one song on the dance floor. Since completing the program we have been able to dance for an entire set," Mr Collinson said.

After visiting their local Amcal Max Salamander Bay, Port Stephens couple, David and Jane Morris, made significant changes to their lifestyle leaving them, collectively, 19 kilograms lighter.

"We weren’t very motivated before this program, but thanks to the lovely staff at the pharmacy and nib we had ongoing support to complete a realistic and easy-to-follow program," Mrs Morris said.

Sharing this incredible success is Glennis Baumann who undertook the program at Amcal Max Kanwal Village on the NSW Central Coast. She believes you have to be in the right frame of mind to lose weight.

"The holistic approach to the program was the key to my weight loss. It wasn’t just about exercise or just about diet, but an incorporation of both, supported by qualified staff that provided guidance and motivation.

"Not only have I lost weight, I feel much happier and my general health is noticeably better," she added.

A survey of participants at the completion of the 12-week program showed:

  • 95% had seen an improvement in their overall health;
  • 85% had found that their level of joint pain had improved; and
  • 65% had lost at least five kilograms.

nib's Group Manager Benefits and Provider Relations, Justin Vaughan, said that improving lifestyle factors associated with osteoarthritis is an important preventative health measure that can lessen the pain associated with the condition and greatly reduce the likelihood for surgery.

"We aim to support programs that encourage prevention rather than treatment and this program is a great example of this," Mr Vaughan said.

Be Good To Yourself not only helps participants improve conditions associated with osteoarthritis but can also improve other associated health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and respiratory health.

Gary Dunne, Sigma's Chief Operating Officer said the program not only provides a tailored exercise and nutrition program for participants but also a support network to keep them motivated and focused on their goals, which leads to stronger results.

"Since completing the first program, we have seen a number of participants reduce their level of medication, improve their level of joint pain, as well as their overall health and wellbeing," he said.

nib is looking to expand the program to other Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian Pharmacies from May 2015.