22 Oct 2008

Pacific youth in NZ 'more likely' to be overweight

3:11 pm on 22 October 2008

A study of youth from four Pacific nations has found those living in New Zealand are more likely to be either overweight or obese.

The Pacific Obesity Prevention in Communities Project surveyed more than 17,000 Pacific young people in New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Australia.

Associate professor Robert Scragg from Auckland University says it is very clear that the New Zealand environment is the major contributor to overweight Pacific Islanders.

Dr Scragg says more than half the young Pacific Islanders surveyed in New Zealand are fat compared with Fiji, where obesity figures are much lower.

He says about one quarter of all students surveyed are fat and a significant factor was the number of outlets selling what he describes as "fatty fast food" in South Auckland.

He says income and food costs are likely to be a huge factor in poor nutrition in New Zealand.

In another finding, 15% of New Zealand students do not eat breakfast.