OBJECTIVES: Recreational physical activities of New Zealand women were examined to develop ethnic-specific suggestions encouraging physical activity (PA) participation as a targeted approach to reduce obesity rates among different groups. METHODS: Healthy Māori, Pacific and European women (n=331; 16-45 years of age) completed an online Recent Physical Activity Questionnaire to assess recreational PA and adherence to PA guidelines. Existing PA preferences were tailored to make ethnic-specific suggestions aimed at increasing PA participation. RESULTS: Achievement of PA guidelines was: Māori 74%; Pacific 60%; European 70%. Highest participation across all women was for walking (Māori 72%, Pacific 60%, European 83%), followed by floor exercise (Māori 54%, Pacific 37%, European 56%). Gym-type activities (e.g. weights, aerobics) and jogging were also common across ethnic groups. Group/team activities (dance, netball, touch football) were among the top 10 activities for Māori and Pacific, but not European women. CONCLUSION: Obesity rates among specific ethnic groups of New Zealand women might be reduced by promoting activities that are: family/whānau-oriented (netball, touch), community-linked (hula, dance) and outdoor-based. Implications for public health: Tailoring existing PA preferences to develop ethnic-specific sets of activity suggestions could be important avenues to increase PA participation, improving the PA habits and subsequent health of New Zealand women and their communities.
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