Nutrition and physical activity behaviours among Mäori, Pacific and NZ European children: Identifying opportunities for population-based interventions

Jennifer Utter*, Robert Scragg, David Schaaf, Eljon Fitzgerald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To describe how the prevalences of nutrition and physical activity behaviours vary by ethnicity, while controlling for other socio-demographic characteristics, and to identify appropriate points of intervention for defined ethnic populations of New Zealand children. 

Methods: Secondary data analysis of the 2002 National Children's Nutrition Survey. 

Results: Few ethnic differences were significant for fruit and vegetable consumption and indicators of physical activity. Where ethnic differences in physical activity were significant, Mäori children and Pacific children were more active than New Zealand European/Other (NZEO) children. Pacific children and Mäori children were significantly more likely to skip meals than NZEO children. Pacific children and Mäori children were significantly more likely to buy some/most of the food they consumed at school from the tuckshop or dairy while NZEO children were more likely to bring their school food only from home. Likewise, Pacific children and Mäori children were significantly more likely to be high consumers of some fatty and sugary foods than NZEO children. 

Conclusions and implications: Meal skipping and purchasing food away from home were common for Mäori children and Pacific children; school-based programs that aim to improve access to and subsidise the price of healthy foods, including breakfast, could greatly benefit Mäori and Pacific students. Efforts to improve fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity should be more universally applied and made culturally appropriate for all children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

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