Pasifika staff lose 163 kgs to promote healthy lifestyle to community

Posted 04/04/2016

For the past six months the team  has been working with personal trainer Roz Training on a health and well-being programme, involving a nutrition and‪ exercise programme. The results have been amazing, with the team losing 163kg in total so far, and we are still going! 

Chop suey and fried chicken were staple foods for the team , until they realised it wasn't a good look next to the health message they gave their clients.  

Six months later the team at the Waikato organisation have changed their ways to a healthier lifestyle and shed more than 100 kgs in the process.

At a round-table meeting, a raft of health issues were identified within the team, which included obesity, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and smoking.

K'aute Pasifika Trust provides health, social and education services to Pacific people in the Waikato.

The trust's general manager Kim Holt said the staff needed to be role models for the Pacific communities they worked for.

"Evidence has shown that Pacific people in New Zealand have higher rates of ischaemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respiratory disease than any other ethnic group," Holt said.

"This is due to high levels of health risk and unhealthy behaviours [such as] smoking and obesity. K'aute Pasifika has a mission to improve the holistic well-being of Pacific communities.

Holt and the team presented a proposal to the trust's board to fund a health and well-being programme.

And in just six months, 22 staff and one board member lost a combined 163 kgs. Of the four smokers, two quit and the other two significantly reduced the number of cigarettes they smoke each day.

Staff member Peni Seru, a smoke-free coordinator from Fiji, said it was tempting to order takeaway food as it was easy and quick to buy.

"KFC is just down the road so that made it harder," Peru said.

"But after a week you don't even miss the takeaways. 

"And it makes it harder to eat the bad stuff when you have everyone at work looking at your lunch box to see what you're eating."

Roz Hooker, a personal trainer and chef, was charged with whipping the team into shape. 

The programme was voluntary for staff to join, but if they joined they needed to be fully committed.

At the team's midweek training session, they were tasked with hill runs up and down Rostrevor Street, sit-ups and star jumps. They also took part in the Cancer Society Relay for Life in March.

"When I first met the team, some of them couldn't even do crunches and now they're doing full sit-ups," Hooker said.

"Surprisingly I haven't had any angst, they know I come from a good place and it's been great to see how far they have all come.”

The trust is currently applying for funding to get the healthy well-being programme into the wider Pacific community.​

This article appeared on Stuff

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