23 Nov 2009

New Zealand study shows Cook Islanders more likely to get heart disease

8:05 pm on 23 November 2009

New results from a health study in New Zealand show that Cook Islanders are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than members of other Pacific communities in this country.

Researchers at the University of Otago looked specifically at Pacific mortality rates in New Zealand among the four biggest ethnic groups, Samoans, Tongans, Niueans and Cook Islanders.

A researcher, Tony Blakely, says their study covered the period from 2001 to 2004 and the findings fit with current statistics on smoking rates among Cook Islanders.

"The key findings are most interesting. Which is that Cook Island Maori have about a 20 to 30-percent higher causal mortality rate than Samoan or the other three Pacific groups and in particularly for cardiovascular disease where nearly two thirds higher mortality which was a clearly significant finding, a substantial finding, and has generated quite a lot of interest."

Otago University researcher Tony Blakely.