1 Feb 2012

Team sports could be remedy for Pacific obesity

2:59 pm on 1 February 2012

Researchers say social games of touch rugby or football could be an effective remedy to obesity and diabetes in Pacific communities.

A trial by the University of Auckland found obese Pacific adults who played just four weeks of such games got significantly fitter and stronger and their blood sugar levels improved.

Dr Raina Elley says it's promising news for combating obesity and diabetes in Pacific people who aren't keen on exercise like jogging or going to the gym.

In the trial, 10 obese, sedentary adults played regular small-team games like touch rugby, football or bullrush while a similar number did no exercise.

After four weeks, those playing the games showed a significant improvement in their oxygen uptake, and increased leg strength.

Dr Elley says the results were a real surprise. The trial now needs to be confirmed by a more comprehensive study.

Nearly two-thirds of Pacific adults are classified as obese and one in five has diabetes.