“Sport-Santé” (Health through Sports) is a public health programme designed to encourage physical exercise as a way to control non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The eight-month pilot study in Tahiti allowed doctors to prescribe exercise classes for patients with NCDs (exercise prescriptions). Patients were referred to Maita'i Sport Santé, a network of sports trainers who design appropriate exercises for specific medical conditions.
From 16 to 19 July, the French Polynesian Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport jointly convened a workshop to present the Health through Sports programme along with the pilot study’s outcomes. Participants were health and sports professionals from metropolitan France and the French Pacific Territories.
Solène Bertrand-Protat, Non-Communicable Disease Adviser with the Pacific Community’s Public Health Division, attended the meeting together with two representatives from New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna. “French Polynesia is taking the lead in this innovative approach as not many programmes of this type exist in the Pacific,” she said.
The pilot study’s results showed that all the participants had improved their physical strength, flexibility, endurance, and mental wellbeing through the programme. In addition, 64% of study participants with diabetes lost weight. The Health through Sports initiative will be extended to all the island groups in French Polynesia. Discussions are also underway to take the initiative to other French territories and to present its outcomes at the biennial Pacific Health Ministers’ meeting in Tahiti in August 2019. “The pilot project demonstrated the effectiveness of sports prescriptions in improving the quality of life and health of people with NCDs. Other Pacific countries could learn about French Polynesia’s experience and adopt the programme if they would like to,” explained Solène Bertrand-Protat.
Solène Bertrand-Protat, Non-Communicable Diseases Advisor, Public Health Division, Pacific Community (SPC) | [email protected]
Watch the other presentations on the Direction de l’Education, de la Jeunesse et des Sports Facebook page
"Remise en forme" - MAITA'I SPORT SANTE TV