A study has found healthy eating and exercise campaigns aimed at Pacific Islanders are wasted without improvements in official food standards, urban design and public transport.
Gerhard Sundborn of the Auckland University of Technology says the Pacific Islands Families Study shows rates of obesity are rising despite increased rates of exercise.
He says policies encouraging urban design that makes it easier for people to walk than drive are worth considering.
Food policies set by government are more effective than workshops teaching people how to cook healthy food, he says, and legislation banning smoking in public could be a model for nutrition policies.
Massey University's Paskifika director, Sitaleki Finau, says the Pacific population must rethink its attitude to food and exercise.
He says poor people may regard large meals as a sign of comfort and security.