Shifting focus to Christchurch Pasifika

New research funded by the Heart Foundation will help us understand the heart health profile of Pasifika people living in the South Island

It’s well known that New Zealand’s Pacific population suffers higher rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease than the general population.

But until now, most of the evidence for this has come from Auckland, which is why Dr Allamanda Faatoese is turning her attention to the South Island – specifically Christchurch.

“Pacific communities living in Auckland have vastly different environments than those in Christchurch," she explains.

"We know little about the heart health profile of Pasifika in Christchurch." 

That's all about to change thanks to the Pasifika Heart Study, which will measure heart disease risk factors among a sample of 200 Pacific participants – both healthy and those suffering from illness – residing in the South Island.

Dr Faatoese, from the University of Otago’s Department of Medicine in Christchurch, says each participant’s personal and family medical history, blood pressure, and body composition will be recorded. Blood tests will measure levels of cholesterol, blood sugars and markers linked with kidney function, gout and heart failure.

"Our primary aim is to document current cardiovascular risk profiles for a South Island-based cohort," she says. “We will also incorporate a short food questionnaire to enhance what we know about this unique Pacific group.”

Dr Faatoese says she is very grateful to have received a Heart Foundation project grant in our last funding round.

“The Heart Foundation’s funding is very important as it will primarily support a research assistant to help in the recruitment and screening of Pacific participants. It will also support the recruitment of an extra 50 participants to increase the sample size to a total of 200 Pacific adults."