Food for thought: the health of Pacific Islands young people in New Zealand : An Analysis Of The Dietary And Lifestyle Behaviours Of Pacific Islands Adolescents, And The Potential Long-Term Effects Of These Behaviours Upon Health
Thesis DisciplinePacific Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The aim of this thesis is to provide an overview of the health of Pacific Islands young people in New Zealand, with a particular emphasis on the effects of their dietary and lifestyle behaviours upon long-term health. This research is based on the observation that noncommunicable, or life-style, diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality for Pacific Islands people in New Zealand, that these diseases are invariably attributable to dietary and lifestyle habits, and that these habits become instilled during the adolescent period. Three main methods were undertaken to achieve this aim. The first constituted a review of literature concerning the health of Pacific Islands people in New Zealand, including a discussion of what health means to Pacific Islands people, along with the main health issues that this population encounters. The importance of food to Pacific Islands people is also considered in this review, along with the influence of diet on Pacific Islands people's disease patterns. Existing studies concerning the dietary habits of Pacific Islands youth are also detailed. The second stage of the research involved conducting research into the health of Pacific Islands young people in Christchurch, based in part on the methodology and findings of these previous studies. As the thesis will show, while Christchurch has the fourth largest Pacific Islands population in New Zealand, this population is considerably smaller than those in other main centres. This means that Pacific Islands people have less health resources and services available to them. This research revealed that Pacific Islands young people in Christchurch, and in New Zealand in general, consume a diet that is high in fat and low in other nutrients. Research into the health of Pacific Islands young people is deemed necessary to help to counter the high incidence of lifestyle related diseases in the adult population. Further, by identifying potential health outlooks for the future generation of Pacific Islands adults, research in Christchurch will be useful in ensuring that services and resources to meet Pacific Islands people's specific health needs.