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Int J Pediatr Obes. 2011 Jun;6(2-2):e565-73. doi: 10.3109/17477166.2010.512389. Epub 2010 Sep 2.

Physical activity, sedentariness, and body fatness in a sample of 6-year-old Pacific children.

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  • 1Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.



Pacific children living in New Zealand exhibit considerably higher rates of overweight and obesity than their non-Pacific peers. The study aim was to identify physical activity and sedentary behaviors related to increased body size in Pacific children, to inform future intervention development for improved activity profiles and body size outcomes in this population.


Three hundred and ninety-three 6-year-old Pacific children and their mothers living in Auckland, New Zealand were invited to participate. Activity was assessed over 8 days using accelerometry and mothers reported on their child's sedentary behaviours. Children's height, weight, and body fatness was assessed and body mass index (BMI) and body fat z-scores calculated. Maternal height, weight, and waist circumference were assessed and BMI calculated. Associations between children's body fat z-scores and potential related factors were determined using regression analyses.


Of the 254 children who registered, 102 (27% overweight, 32% obese) were included in analyses. Almost all mothers were overweight or obese. On average, children's body fat z-scores were 1.75 standard deviations above the reference group (range -0.6, 3.14). After accounting for all other factors, watching television every day and having a mother with a high waist circumference were associated with increased body fat z-scores.


Strategies for obesity reduction in Pacific children and their mothers living in New Zealand are urgently required. Multifaceted, family based interventions that include the promotion of healthy nutritional practices and television free days may be efficacious in improving activity profiles and body size outcomes for Pacific children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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