HEALTHY: Amanda Percy with Rob Ferguson from Raceview who is enjoying life more than ever at age 60
HEALTHY: Amanda Percy with Rob Ferguson from Raceview who is enjoying life more than ever at age 60 Darren Hallesy

How an online health check changed a man's life

IT was a simple online health check that changed the life of one local man, who says that he has never felt better.

Funded by the State Government, a simple visit to the website myhealthforlife and answering a few questions could be a real eye opener - just ask one of Ipswich's most sprightly 60-year olds.

The questionnaire will give you a rating of your health, and if it isn't as good as you thought, you are eligible to take part in a program which provides Ipswich residents with a free health coach to help them turn things around.

That's what Raceview resident Rob Ferguson did.

In the six months he's been involved in the program he's lost 7kg in weight and gone from a 122.5cm waistline to 106.5cm.

"I work in transport and I got an email at work from management encouraging all staff to do the online questionnaire, which I did, and I got a bit of a shock," Mr Ferguson said.

"I thought I was healthy, but I thought 'hang on, maybe I'm not?'.

"I came to the first night, we measured and weighed everything. I wasn't particularly worried about my weight, I'm 60 years old, but I was sick of not being able to put my shoes on and thinking, 'how did that get in the way?'."

The six-month program is available across the state, delivered in small group sessions by qualified health professionals in their local area or privately over the phone.

About 120,000 Queenslanders have taken part in the health checks since the program launched in 2017.

More than 8000 Queenslanders have since gone on to take part in the program while another 5000 are expected to take part in 2019.

Amanda Percy works at Exact Physiology and worked alongside Rob through his life-changing experience.

She was gutted when Ipswich was named as top of the heap in an undesired top 10.

"It mortifies me to think we were crowned Australia's fattest city a few years ago," Mrs Percy said.

"We've made progress but there is still a long way to go."

"We are getting more services in Ipswich, and programs like this allow us to make changes without the huge costs like they have in the city. It's aimed at people over 45 and we get lots of women who come in wanting to change, but not so many men...so it's amazing to get someone in like Rob who has lost 16cm off his waistline."

Amanda says it's as simple as doing a five-minute online quiz about your health.

"If you do it through the public site they will contact you and advise what's in your area, and you get booked in for sessions, plus it's all funded by the state.

"You have a support group, and you know you have someone to go back to, and discuss what worked for you, what didn't work for you...then strategize.

"Motivation is the biggest word people use, but the other word is 'Why?' and then when you get to it you find its often family. If that 'Why?' is strong enough, that's your motivation...that's always going to be there."

Rob is now into bushwalking, cycling and planning to do a 35km bushwalk for charity.

Do the free online health check at myhealthforlife.com.au.



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