Introduction: Rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are high among Pacific people in New Zealand. Physical activity is recommended in the prevention and management of these conditions. Community-based, 'small-sided game' group activities may be an effective and culturally appropriate way to promote physical activity within Pacific communities.
Aim: To assess the effectiveness of small-sided games-based exercise on fitness and health parameters among Pacific adults over four weeks.
Methods: Twenty untrained (13 female) Pacific adults were randomised to intervention or control. Intervention participants were offered 45 minutes of small-sided games three times per week for four weeks. Control participants were offered one-month gym membership after the trial. Primary outcomes included cardiorespiratory fitness (VO₂peak) and leg strength (maximal concentric force of quadriceps at 60°/second) measured at baseline and four weeks. Secondary outcomes included glycaemia, lipid profile, blood pressure (BP), and inflammatory markers. Multivariable regression models were used to assess differences between groups, adjusting for baseline values, age and gender.
Results: At baseline, mean age was 34.8 years (SD 12.6), BMI 36.3 (6.7), systolic BP 127.7 mmHg (12.1), HbA1c 6.1% (1.9), VO₂peak 2.5 L/min (0.6) and leg strength 170.0 N.m (57.4). Sixteen participants completed the trial. Change in outcomes were greater in intervention than control participants in absolute VO₂peak (0.9 L/min (p=0.003)), leg strength (17.8 N.m (p=0.04)) and HDL (0.12 mmol/L (p=0.02)). There were no other significant differences.
Discussion: Small-sided games appear to be a promising means for improving the health and cardiorespiratory fitness and reducing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Pacific adults.