23 Jun 2014

Maori over-represented in obesity stats

6:28 pm on 23 June 2014

Almost one in five Maori children and almost half of Maori adults are classed as obese, the New Zealand Health Survey shows.

The Ministry of Health figures show obesity and smoking continue to be disproportionately higher among Maori than other parts of the population.

Maori adults are more than twice as likely to smoke, with two in five Maori adults addicted to the habit.

Accessing health care is also a problem, with 37 percent of Maori unable to afford to go to the doctor.

Maori health advocate Marewa Glover said the statistics highlighted the importance of a proactive, inter-agency approach to Maori health issues. The statistics remained disturbing for Maori and must be worked on holistically.

The Whanau Ora Ora programme worked well, and issues of obesity and smoking were linked and could not be dealt with by applying a silo mentality, she said.