Sunwell Community health programme

Mission statement:

“ To encourage, educate, and ‘champion’ both adult and child populations residing in Stellenbosch and its surrounding, communities; to the ways and benefits of leading a healthy, active and safe lifestyle.”

Strategic priority:

Enhance societal impact

Committed visionary leadership Committed, passionate and visionary leadership is required to address the challenges of the 21st-century university. Such leadership will contribute to shaping the institution to make it more liveable, human and ethical, which will, in turn, have an impact on our society and demonstrate the relevance of our institution within our context. Create opportunities to demonstrate and practise leadership academically, culturally and in the area of sports.

Sunwell is a Community health programme ran by the Sport Science Department of Stellenbosch University.  The initiative was launched after the completion of Dr. Bradley Fryer’s PhD study, titled A community-based lifestyle intervention programme for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus in a low socio-economic status community. The intervention was conducted in the Cloetesville community and included dietary advice, physical activity sessions and psychological support.

This project laid the foundations for a sustainable programme and the next phase involves an expansion on physical activity and dietary programme, monitoring of training progress and health-related parameters, the effects of physical activity on executive cognitive function and finally, the training of community health workers and community leaders, as well as students and staff of the Stellenbosch Biokinetics Centre to take the programme forward.

Sunwell projects also set out to identify barriers preventing participation in physical activity in these low socio-economic status communities. One of our current ongoing studies is focused on describing the relationships between lifestyle factors in relations to cardiometabolic health status, cognitive functioning and cardiorespiratory fitness, among South African adult women living in these communities. The information will help Universities and Government related organizations to establish long term, sustainable intervention programmes that would contribute to the improvement of health and wellness of residents in the local communities.

Current Projects

Utopia Tehuis old age home

Group-based function movement and physical activity classes for elderly adults (aged: ≥ 70 years)

Huis Horizon

Group-based function movement and physical activity classes for young adults (aged: 18-45 years) with intellectual disabilities

Cloetesville church community group

Group-based function movement and physical activity classes for apparently healthy adults (aged: 25-75 years). This also includes outings such as group participation in parkrun and going to the outdoors gym.