Our history  

Since 2007, over 75,000 Victorians have learnt more about the steps they can take to improve their health by participating in the Life! program. Funded by the Victorian Government and managed by Diabetes Victoria, it is the largest prevention program of its kind in Australia. 

The program was launched informed by research demonstrating that lifestyle modification can reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Studies and trials include: 

The Life! program is continually evolving to ensure it stays up to date with the latest evidence. 

Timeline

2007 

  • The program officially launches. 

2010 

  • Telephone Health Coaching is introduced to provide participants with flexible and convenient delivery options. This program is delivered one-on-one over the phone.  

2012 

  • The Life! program partners with The Heart Foundation and Stroke Foundation to raise awareness of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke and to optimise program referral pathways.  

2016 

  • Participant eligibility criteria expand to include people 18 + years to target younger populations at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.    

2018 

  • Participants get access to emails and SMS messages covering relevant health topics, to support their learning and engagement between group sessions/calls. 
  • Life! program group sessions are expanded to include 12-month group sessions and telephone health coach calls.  
  • The eligibility criteria for Body Mass Index (BMI)for participants who self-identify as being from Asian background is reduced from 24 to 23. This population is at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, at a lower BMI. 

2020 

  • Life! program online group delivery commences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Online delivery is now part of our ongoing suite of flexible delivery options. 

2022 

  • Life! Online launches. Life! Online is a digital tool that helps people to continue working towards their health goals between sessions/calls. Participants can use Life! Online to set and track their health goals, continue their learning between sessions and connect with other participants through the community forum. 

Mission and values of Life! program: 

The Life! team works closely with the Victorian community to inform the program and how we deliver it.  

Our mission is to reduce people’s risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke by: 

  • providing resources, education and support with a focus on those at highest risk including people from low socioeconomic areas, rural and regional communities, Aboriginal communities and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. 
  • raising awareness of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, including risk factors. 
  • advocating for environments that promote good health and wellbeing. 

What sets the Life! program apart? 

The Life! program is recognised as: 

  • the largest prevention program of its kind within Australia. 
  • evidence-based with proven success in improving health outcomes. 
  • delivered by accredited health practitioners like dietitians and exercise physiologists. 
  • supported by the Victorian Government since 2007. 
  • accessible for all eligible Victorian residents, at no cost.  
  • providing flexible delivery options. 

Life! program results 

Annual Life! program evaluations continue to build  an understanding of the effectiveness of the Life! program and where there are opportunities to improve.  

The key evaluation outcomes are participants’ improvements in behavioural outcomes, physical outcomes, and blood pressure measures. In the most recent program evaluation for the 2020-2021 financial year, 95.6% of Life! participants reported making positive changes to diet, 93.1% reported making positive changes to physical activity and 96.7% rated the program as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. Check out our https://lifeprogram.org.au/life-program-results/evaluation findings here. 

Success stories  

Say hello to Mala, a Life! program participant 

Image of Mala- a <em>Life!</em> participant

“I feel more confident cooking healthy meals and feel so much better eating lighter meals. When I get the chance to exercise, I sleep better at night and overall, I have more energy.” 

Check out more participant success stories here. 

Our team 

Kristie Cocotis

Head of Prevention and Health Promotion

Kristie has been working in health promotion/public health for almost 20 years. She holds a Master of Public Health, and is focused on improving health equity.

Alice McKegg

Program Operations Lead

Passionate about improving health and reducing risks associated with chronic disease. Biomedical Science and Public health background.

Sarah Dubé

Strategy and Engagement Lead

Sarah Dubé holds a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Intercultural Communications. She is the Strategy and Engagement Lead of the Life! program at Diabetes Victoria and has led several key projects including digital enhancement innovations such as the development of Life! Online.

Tegan Kohlman

Communications and Social Marketing Officer

Communications and Social Marketing Officer with 7 years experience in communications, content and social media strategy across corporate, not-for-profit and social enterprise.

Ria Cheripuram

Digital Communications Officer

Ria is passionate about improving the user experience on the Life! website and optimising web pages to get better conversions. She holds a Bachelor of Computer Science and Engineering and a Diploma in Social Media Marketing.

Sonja Pluess Barwick

Project Coordinator- Program Development

Sonja has a Graduate Certificate in Public Health. She coordinates the Life! flex pilot program.

Elleni Kaias

Primary Care Engagement Lead

Elleni Kaias holds a Bachelor of Nutrition (Honours) and Master of Dietetic Practice.

Jane Kwon

Senior Project Coordinator

Jane Kwon holds a Master’s degree in Global Public Health Nutrition. She manages the Life! program content review project as the Senior Project Coordinator.

Life logo

Samantha Thompson

Resource and Support Officer

Samatha is passionate about helping people Prevent Diabetes and has been providing Administration, support and logistics for all areas of the program.

Vivian Yin

Health Promotion Officer - Cultural Diversity

Vivian has a Master of Health Promotion & Master of Public Health. She is the co-founder of Build the Rock Inc which is a social media project (via WeChat) helping community organisations connect with Chinese community members.

Wing Ee Yap

Health Promotion Officer - Chinese

Wing holds a Bachelor of Biomedicine and Master of Public Health with a special interest in health education and promotion.

Khanh Dang

Health Promotion Officer - Vietnamese

Khanh Dang holds a double Bachelor degrees in Arts and Health Sciences, majored in Sociology and Public Health.

Elaine Osei-Safo

Program Facilitator and Health Coach

Elaine is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and PhD Candidate at the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI).

Jordan Frigo

Program Facilitator and Health Coach

Jordan is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) with a special interest in the benefits of exercise and lifestyle changes for the reduction of risk and management of cardiometabolic conditions.

Iftu Umar

Program Facilitator and Health Coach

Iftu is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and is experienced in delivering projects in health organisations and with consumers.

Life logo

Ryan Marinelli

Program Facilitator and Health Coach

Ryan is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist interested in holistic approaches to improving physical and mental health.

Life logo

Angel Fan

Program Facilitator and Health Coach

Angel is an Accredited Practising Dietitian. She is interested in improving health and reducing risks related to chronic disease via lifestyle changes.

Life logo

Khurram Abbasi

Salesforce Design and Development Manager

Khurram holds a Master of Information Technology degree with major in IT security. Khurram has over 13 years of experince working in software design and development.

Life logo

Carli Leishman

Evaluation and Quality Lead

Carli a researcher and evaluator with a Master’s of Social Work, with over 7 years experience in the human services sector. Carli is passionate about health equity in regional communities.

Life logo

Chelsea Arceri

Gestational Diabetes Project Coordinator

Chelsea is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) with a special interest in Women’s Health.

Life logo

Lauren Nink

Health Promotion Lead

Lauren holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with majors in Nutrition and Health Promotion. Lauren has over 10 years of experience working in chronic disease prevention and health promotion with Diabetes Victoria.

Our  editors and reviewers 

Editors: Sarah Dubé, Ria Cheripuram, Tegan Kohlman 

Reviewers: Stephanie Aalders, Elleni Kaias, Kristie Cocotis 

Find us on social media 

Facebook 

Instagram 

LinkedIn 

Have a question or need assistance? Contact us and one of our customer service representatives will get in touch with you.