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Journal of Primary Health Care Journal of Primary Health Care Society
Journal of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

Feasibility of an after-school group-based exercise and lifestyle programme to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and health in less-active Pacific and Maori adolescents

Yongchie Chansavang, C Raina Elley, Brighid McCaffrey, Chloe Davidson, Ofa Dewes and Lance Dalleck

Journal of Primary Health Care 7(1) 57 - 64
Published: 2015


INTRODUCTION: Obesity and low levels of physical activity are increasing among Pacific and Maori adolescents in New Zealand. AIM: To assess the feasibility of an after-school exercise and lifestyle programme to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, health and usual activity in less-active Pacific and Maori adolescents over six weeks. METHODS: Eighteen less-active secondary school students participated. The six-week programme included 3 x 1.5 hour exercise and healthy lifestyle sessions per week. Outcomes included estimated cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2 max), insulin resistance (Homeostasis Model Assessment), physical activity, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting plasma glucose, blood pressure, waist circumference and fasting lipids, measured at baseline and six weeks. Programme attendance and qualitative comments were also recorded. Student?s t-tests were used. RESULTS: Of the 18 students enrolled, 16 (89%) completed six-week follow-up, 14 (78%) were female, 13 (72%) were Pacific ethnicity and 5 (28%) were Maori. At baseline, mean age was 16.3 (standard deviation [SD] 1.0) years, body mass index (BMI) 35.2 (SD 6.7) kg/m2 , VO2 max 31.5 (SD 4.3) mL/kg/min, systolic blood pressure 125.0 (SD 12.9) mm Hg, HbA1c 39.9 (SD 3.8) mmol/mol, fasting serum insulin 28.3 (SD 27.8) µU/mL. At follow-up, improvements had occurred in VO2 max (3.2 mL/kg/min; p=0.02), systolic blood pressure (-10.6 mm Hg; p=0.003), HbA1c (-1.1 mmol/mol; p=0.03) and weekly vigorous (4 hours, p=0.002) and moderate (2 hours, p=0.006) physical activity, although waist circumference increased (p=0.005). Programme attendance was over 50%. Comments were mostly positive. DISCUSSION: The after-school exercise and lifestyle programme and study methods were feasible. Such programmes have the potential to improve health outcomes for Pacific and Maori adolescents. KEYWORDS: Adolescent; diabetes mellitus; ethnic groups; exercise; physical fitness; primary prevention

© CSIRO 2015

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