Physical activity (PA) status of Pacific communities in New Zealand
According to the Active New Zealand Survey (ANZS) 2007/08 results by Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) 52% of Pacific respondents were regularly active, 36.5% were sometimes active compared with those who were not active (10.9%). While over half the people surveyed appeared to be active enough, 47% could be more active. That is, the data suggests that less than half are not meeting the national guidelines of 30 minutes of PA on at least 5 days out of 7.
Demographic profile of Pacific ethnic groups in New Zealand
In 2006, based on Ministry of Health data, the Pacific population accounted for 6.9% (265,974) of the total population in New Zealand. Samoa was the biggest community (49%) followed by Cook Islands (22%) Tongan (19%) Niuean (8%) Fijian (4%) Tokelauan (3%) and Tuvaluan (1%) peoples. Also, 37.7% of the Pacific population was under 15 years compared to 21.3% of the total population and the median age was 21 compared to the national average of 35 years. The majority (67%) of the Pacific population was living in Auckland (as was 66% of the Samoan population), and 60% of the population was born in New Zealand, the same percentage as 60% the Samoan population.
Increased levels of PA could reduce health risks affecting Pacific peoples in New Zealand
Getting more people active could slow down the rate of modern lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Physical activity may also reduce or eliminate risk factors such as cigarette smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes, overweight and obesity. Obesity affects more Pacific people than non Pacific people in New Zealand. For instance, in 2008, the Ministry of Social Development reported that Pacific peoples aged 15 years and over had higher obesity rates (65%) than the total population in this age group compared with European/other (23%) ethnic groups between 2006 and 2007.
Are you active enough?
- Are you achieving the national PA guidelines?
- What does PA mean to you?
- What types of PA do you enjoy?
- What makes it difficult for Pacific peoples to do PA?
- What would make easier for Pacific peoples to do more PA?
Talofa [Hello] I am a self employed independent researcher and I lead and manage Pasifika Research Ltd which is focused on improving education, health and social wellbeing of Pacific peoples in New Zealand. I have a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and a Post Graduate Diploma in Sports and Leisure Studies. In 2009, I graduated with a Masters degree in Sport and Leisure Studies and my thesis was focused on understanding young people’s perceptions and experiences of physical activity in Apia, Samoa. In my spare time, I like to mountain bike, work out with weights, cross train, travel, read and write articles.