Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Ngāpuhi researcher challenges health advice on Obesity

Thursday 27 September

Ngāpuhi researcher challenges public health advice on Obesity

Medical practitioners and policy makers internationally are taking note of research completed by Ngāpuhi education scholarship recipient Dr Ricky Bell given its findings go against the long-standing public health approach for obesity mitigation.

Dr Bell (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Hau, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri) spent a year facilitating his own community-based research in Te Tai Tokerau before completing the four-year PhD research program at Otago University. He received a Ngāpuhi education scholarship of $4,000 in 2015 and was very proud to have his PhD conferred at a graduation ceremony in Dunedin last month.

“If it wasn’t for a scholarship from Te Rūnanga-A-Iwi O Ngāpuhi the completion of my studies would still be a long way off”.

Dr Bell’s paper “Understanding Obesity in the context of an Indigenous population” became one of the most shared papers for 2017 in one of the biggest medical journals in the Asia-Pacific region after it was published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

His thesis topic – “Huarahi Hauora: Identifying a pathway forward to wellness with Tangata Whenua” was determined by one of his thesis examiners Professor Meihana Durie to be a “blueprint for other iwi-centred hauora researchers” in its approach to conducting research with Indigenous populations, along with potential benefits with other Indigenous communities.

“What’s different about our research” he says “is that we are using Indigenous knowledge gathering processes within a targeted community to see if we can identify a way to increase the likelihood that people will be more successful in sustaining a healthy lifestyle.”

“Our research has provided a platform whereby Māori have added their own voice to the obesity narrative,” he said.

“Whānau and hapū certainly have the capacity to effect the changes that we need. It will take some time but I strongly believe that we can get there. We simply have to - or our whānau will continue to remain on the wrong side of all the health statistics”.

Ngāpuhi Rūnanga CEO Lorraine Toki says “Dr Bell’s achievement and completion of his PhD reminds us of the importance and value of supporting Ngāpuhi through tertiary study and we hope to learn more about his research and innovative approaches, to help our own people overcome the challenges of obesity to lead happier and healthier lives”.

Dr Bell lives in Kaitaia and currently has clinical roles at the Mamaru GP clinic in Coopers Beach and Broadway Health Ltd at Kaitaia hospital.

Research paper -

Thesis -


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Up 17.% In June Year: Fuel And Rent Drive Inflation

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.6 percent in the June 2019 quarter, due to higher prices for petrol and rent, Stats NZ said today. More>>


Services: Softer June Points To Economic Slowdown

Activity in New Zealand's services sector softened in June, adding to a picture of lacklustre economic growth. The BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of services index fell 0.8 of a point in June from May to a seasonally adjusted 52.7. More>>


Incomings: Migration Remains High

Annual net migration was provisionally estimated at 50,200 (± 800) in the year ended December 2018 compared with 52,600 in the previous year, Stats NZ said. More>>


BusinessDesk: ComCom Files High Court Proceedings Against Westpac

The commission alleges the bank breached the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 by failing to provide key information it was required to give customers under the law. More>>