Pacific people’s health

Pacific peoples experience poorer health outcomes than other New Zealanders across a number of health and disability indicators.

They exhibit a lower life expectancy than other ethnic groups excluding Māori, and social and economic factors are known to contribute significantly to their relatively poorer health status.

In short, Pacific people die younger and have higher rates of chronic diseases, which are recognised as leading causes of this premature mortality and disability, for example:

  • cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death for Pacific peoples and cardiovascular mortality rates are consistently and significantly higher than for the general population
  • mortality rates for cerebrovascular disease (stroke) are higher for Pacific peoples than for any other ethnic group
  • ethnic disparities in cancer survival have increased in the past 25 years and are a major cause of premature mortality and disability
  • the prevalence of diabetes in Pacific populations is approximately three times higher than among other New Zealanders.

Pacific men have higher rates of lung cancer and primary liver cancer, and Pacific women have higher rates of breast and cervical cancer than other New Zealand women.

Pacific children have higher rates of hospitalisation for acute and chronic respiratory and infectious diseases than any other group in New Zealand.

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