SOMETIMES all people need is a little nudge in the right direction.
That's the theory behind the NudgeMe Fitbit program, that will see 50 teenagers wear a fitness tracking device to improve their physical health.
Tamworth's unenviable health statistics drew the attention of Hunter New England Health and ManageHealth, program developer Peter Annis-Brown said.
... Rightly or wrongly it had some stats around being one of the most obese areas in Australia ...Peter Annis-Brown
"We identified this area in particular, rightly or wrongly it had some stats around being one of the most obese areas in Australia so we wanted to focus on that as a key area to try and help," he said.
The 12-week physical, mental and education program isn't just for the kids, parents and carers in West Tamworth will take part too.
The tracking device records data about steps, activity, sleep and heart rate and participants will have to document their hydration and food intake.
All of this goes back to a health coach who's responsible for keeping everyone accountable.
At least 100 signed up to take part in the program, and there's been strong interest from another 40 out at Moree, Mr Annis-Brown said.
"We're using positive psychology to drive behaviour change to help them and others within the community," he said.
"I've been working with the NudgeMe program for three years now, as far as behaviour change we have seen that anecdotally, and from a research point of view if they stick with the program for 120 days there is up to 40 per cent improvement.
"We anticipate that if they stick with it over 12 weeks there will be a marked improvement around sleep quantity and quality."
Australian Health Policy Collaboration figures put Tamworth well above the national average for obesity, premature deaths from heart and lung disease, cancers and smoking rates.
It's hoped the NudgeMe program, will change those figures by involving parents, caregivers and community.
The 50 teenagers taking part will become a "walking testimony", Mr Annis-Brown said.
"Increases in physical activity will be achieved by education on what to do, setting achievable goals, monitored by the accountability platform and celebrating improvement in a positive environment," he said.