NZ Herald Nov 26, 2010
Parental shift work and the cost of food are contributing factors to Pacific children’s obesity rates in New Zealand, an Auckland University study has found. Young Pacific people have significantly higher levels of obesity (23.3 per cent) than the general population (8.3 per cent). Dr Tasileta Teevale led a team of researchers who surveyed 2495 Samoan, Cook Island, Tongan and other Pacific students. A qualitative phase also interviewed 33 adolescents and 35 parents from 30 Pacific households to further explore the sociocultural factors that promote or prevent obesity. Published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, the study found that a key difference between obese and healthy-weight adolescents was in parental presence in the home, with parents of healthy adolescents more likely to be home to provide healthy food and monitor eating practices. Parents in obese households were more likely to be working in shift-type employment – 54 per cent as compared with 8 per cent of households for a healthy weight student.