The effect of a 12-week exercise and lifestyle management programme on cardiac risk reduction: A pilot using a kaupapa Māori philosophy

  • Anna Rolleston
  • Robert N. Doughty
  • Katrina Poppe
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease, kaupapa Māori, exercise, interface space


Introduction: Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of premature death and disability for all New Zealanders. Māori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand, are disproportionately affected. The New Zealand Māori Health Strategy recognises that “health and wellbeing are influenced and affected by the ‘collective’ … and the importance of working with people in their social contexts, not just with their physical symptoms” (Ministry of Health, 2002, p. 1). In a Māori worldview, a holistic approach to health is innate. Objectives: This project piloted a kaupapa Māori approach within an existing 12-week clinical exercise and lifestyle management programme. The aims of the study were to determine the effectiveness of a kaupapa Māori 12-week exercise and lifestyle management programme on parameters of cardiac risk and quality of life. Methods: 12 Māori participants attended, 3 times per week over a 12-week period, for monitored, supervised, and individualised exercise. Participants performed a progressive aerobic-only programme for 6 weeks and then a combined aerobic and resistance training programme from weeks 7 through 12. Education sessions were chosen by participants. Results: There was a statistically significant improvement in waist circumference (–3.7 cm; p = .05), hip circumference (–4.6 cm; p = .03), systolic blood pressure (–22 mm Hg; p = .01), and HDL cholesterol (0.22 mmol/L; p = .01). In addition, physical (p = .05) and overall (p = .03) quality of life improved. Conclusion: A kaupapa Māori approach within a structured lifestyle management programme modifies cardiac risk parameters in Māori.

Research Papers