In this webinar, we learned about the health needs and health inequities experienced by New Zealand’s Pacific communities, and about the work of the Pacific Heartbeat team, set up by the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand.
Around 380,000 people in New Zealand derive from the Pacific Islands. Amongst Pacific people, there is a wide diversity of nationalities, ethnicities and languages. Pacific communities in New Zealand experience significant inequities and poor health outcomes. Life expectancy is 5 years lower for men and 4.5 years lower for women compared with the rest of New Zealand’s population. Rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are high, and experienced at a younger age than non-Pacific New Zealanders.
Rates of obesity, smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity and psychological distress are all high. Pacific adults are 2.5 times more likely to be obese compared with non-Pacific adults, and Pacific children 3.3 times more likely to be obese than non-Pacific children.
The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand works to stop New Zealanders dying too early from heart disease, and helps people with heart disease live full and productive lives. Its Pacific Heartbeat team focuses on the needs of New Zealand’s Pacific Island populations, running initiatives that encourage eating well, being smoke–free and being more active.