Health survey reveals Maori social networks

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Pierre Verschaffelt

Dr. Stephen Child | Chief Medical Officer of Southern Cross Insurance Branch

Funding of roles:

A Canadian doctor who found himself immersed in Maori customs when he found himself in Dargaville 26 years ago believes the Maori health model has lessons for everyone.

A Canadian doctor who found himself immersed in Maori customs when he found himself in Dargaville 26 years ago believes the Maori health model has lessons for everyone.

Dr. Stephen Child oversaw the Southern Cross-National Inquiry into health and well-being from a physical, mental and spiritual perspective.

He found that while Maori were nearly a third less likely to visit a doctor or dentist for time or cost reasons, they had superior social networks.

For example, 12% of all respondents said they spent 11 hours a week of quality time with their children, while 40% of Maori spent over 40 hours with tamariki.

“Maori social health, social connectedness and spiritual health seems like a lesson to others and if we can increase our social connectedness if we can get better self-acceptance then I think that will be the solution,” says the Dr Child.

The survey found that messages about weight and exercise make people feel bad about themselves and unhappy.


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