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NZers Physical Activity Rates Confirmed In Survey

3 December 03

New Zealanders’ Physical Activity Rates
Confirmed In Survey

Provisional results from a Ministry of Health survey of over 12,000 New Zealand adults have found that 74% of adults in 2002/03 were physically active, doing 2.5 hours per week of physical activity. The results mirror SPARC’s findings that 70% of adults were active in 2000/01.

In addition, the Ministry of Health survey found that half of all adults were regularly active, doing 30 minutes of physical activity, most days. Male adults were more active than females, Mâori and Europeans were similarly active, followed by Pacific people and Asians.

The questionnaire used to measure physical activity was developed as part of a joint project with SPARC and the Ministry of Health to improve and standardise measurement of physical activity in New Zealand adults. The new measurement tools will be used in future SPARC and Ministry of Health surveys to allow comparison of physical activity trends.

SPARC Chief Executive Nick Hill says while the results are encouraging, SPARC remains concerned with the trend of declining physical activity rates among young people.

“Our own research of SPARC’s Push Play campaign has determined that awareness of the need to increase physical activity has risen considerably across the population. In the period under review, New Zealanders' self-reported levels of physical activity have increased by an overall 5%. A further 3-4% report talking about getting more active and 8-11% say they’ve thought about it. Significantly, the latest research results show a decrease in physical activity levels among young people, and particularly among Mäori and Pacific communities,” he says.

Check out SPARC’s website at for more information on SPARC’s physical activity data.


- The 2002-03 New Zealand Health Survey is the third in a series of nationwide health surveys carried out by the Ministry of Health.

- The survey involved more than 12,500 New Zealand adults and collected information on diseases and risks to health, as well as information on the use of health services.

- A snapshot report of the Ministry’s survey is available on

- More than 12,500 adults aged 15 years and over responded to the survey. This provisional report includes information from approximately 12,000 people, of which 3990 were Maori, 790 were Pacific people and 940 were Asian. The results are provisional as a small number of interviews are still being processed.

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