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.