Hope for Māori and Pasifika peoples struggling with obesity
Total Healthcare BBM partnership launch 2023 website v2

More people who are struggling with obesity, particularly Māori and Pasifika peoples, will receive life-changing help thanks to the signing of a new agreement.

Total Healthcare Primary Health Organisation (PHO), with support from its service provider Tāmaki Health, signed an agreement on 13 September with Buttabean Motivation (BBM) to expand and develop the ground-breaking From the Couch (FTC) programme.

The free FTC lifestyle support programme incorporates exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing support, along with providing health screening and medical checks.

Funding support of around $500,000 for the next year is now in place from Total Healthcare PHO, Tāmaki Health and Te Whatu Ora. This covers the delivery of the FTC programme, the provision of clinical staff, and independent evaluation by Massey University and robust governance.

This partnership, that started in December 2021, is special because it involves a public health organisation, healthcare provider, and a community-based trust (BBM) sharing resources to tackle the major weight-related health and wellness challenges faced by Māori and Pasifika peoples.

Statistically significant health and mental health improvements have been measured by Massey University researchers who tracked the first four groups who participated in FTC from February 2022 to May 2023 in South Auckland.

Those who completed the first four programmes (50% Māori, 25% Pasifika) lost 7kg on average (4% of body weight). The most weight lost by an individual over 12 weeks was 33kg. One participant used FTC as a launching pad to lose 122kg over a year after joining the first cohort late.

Read a summary of the From the Couch Formative Research Findings 2023

Gold standard in healthcare

“We continue to invest aroha, money and resources into the From the Couch programme because the major health and wellbeing improvements that result are literally changing people’s lives and the programme needs to reach more people, particularly Māori and Pasifika peoples, ” Total Healthcare CEO Mark Vella says.

“This is the gold-standard in new community-based healthcare where, as a PHO, we partner with a successful community provider, which is already trusted by Māori and Pasifika communities, to bring healthcare services into the community.”

BBM gyms in South and West Auckland are visited by our health coaches, doctors and nurses who support FTC participants in their journey.

We are taking healthcare services to the community – places where people are already going, in this case the BBM gyms – and this is exactly what we should be doing, Total Healthcare GM Kate Moodabe says.

“It is so important to make it easy and convenient for people to get health checks, especially for those with long-term conditions. That’s why Total Healthcare invested in state-of-the-art, point-of-care testing for heart, diabetes and kidney function and screening for other risks like hepatitis C. This means a simple finger-prick test and quick results to share with people and offer them support,” Ms Moodabe says.

“We are always looking at providing alternatives to overcome barriers to people getting vital healthcare support. So, FTC participants are not having to make an appointment or pay for it, they’re not being judged, and they’re not having to experience the usually painful blood test then wait for the result and experience the follow-up appointment process.” 

Women FTC participants also receive early access to free HPV self-testing to prevent cervical cancer because of the PHO’s involvement in a trial of the new tests. “This took away the dread of a cervical smear and replaced it with a test they can do themselves using something the size of a cotton bud,” Ms Moodabe says.

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