The twin towns of Tottenham and Tullamore from Western NSW have won the inaugural NSW Healthy Towns Challenge, edging out fellow competitors Bomaderry, Cooma, Yamba and Wellington.
Supported by NSW Health and the Heart Foundation, the Healthy Town Challenge is an initiative to help small rural communities become healthier by facilitating local partnerships between agencies, businesses and individuals with an interest in improving overall health in the towns.
NSW Director of the Centre for Population Health, Dr Jo Mitchell said the results achieved by all of the towns were fantastic.
“It was terrific to see the amount of enthusiasm and effort each of the five town entrants put into becoming healthier – particularly improving overall diet and exercise levels,” Dr Mitchell said.
Dr Mitchell said each town’s collective progress towards a healthy weight, based on the people who participated in NSW Health’s Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service, was used to select the overall winner, Tottenham and Tullamore.
“The Get Healthy Service is a free ten session telephone-based coaching service where healthy lifestyle information and ongoing, personalised support are delivered to help people make lasting lifestyle changes,” she said.
“Approximately 10 per cent of Tottenham and Tullamore’s population enrolled in the Get Healthy Service and the participants lost a combined total of 100kg during the challenge.
“In total, around 500 people from the five towns involved in the Healthy Towns Challenge registered for the Get Healthy Coaching service and are continuing with their individual goals.
“In addition to enrolling people in the Get Healthy Coaching Service, the towns organised community based healthy living activities and initiated changes in local policies and environment to support healthier living over a longer term.
“I congratulate Tottenham and Tullamore, but also all of the participants in our first ever NSW Healthy Towns Challenge.”
Applications for the next round of the NSW Healthy Town Challenge will be invited in September 2015.