15 May 2015

Research to tackle obesity via rugby clubs

3:45 pm on 15 May 2015

An Auckland University researcher is to investigate whether a weight-loss regime that worked on Scottish football fans could be adapted to target growing obesity in men here, particularly among Maori and Pacifica.

Associate Professor Ralph Maddison has received a $150,000 grant from the Health Research Council to devise a programme to use in rugby clubs.

Dr Maddison said men did not traditionally engage with traditional weight management programmes.

He said professional rugby with its high male, Maori and Pacific fan base provided an ideal way to deliver them.

"So the content may need to be changed to be more relevant to Maori and Pacific, I think we may need to have sort of a more whanau-based approach so that while the content is delivered to the individuals we may want to engage much more with the whanau."

Dr Maddison said in Scotland, the programme resulted in sustained weight loss over 12 months, and showed improvement in physical activity, diet and alcohol consumption.

He said obesity in New Zealand males increased from 17 percent in 1997 to 30 percent in 2012/2013, and men have higher rates of obesity than women across most age groups.

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