Auckland's least active neighbourhoods are being mapped so more can be done to get people off couches in the fight against obesity-related illness.

To use official language, the Auckland Regional Physical Activity and Sport Strategy and the Auckland Regional Public Health Service are conducting "health data mapping" to identify "areas of high need".

Information from the Census, NZ Health Survey and Sport and Recreation NZ is being used to identify "communities of interest" says strategy director Kelvyn Eglinton.

Once areas of concentrated low-activity are identified at the end of this month, more resources will be targeted for those neighbourhoods.

The information will also be used to help the Health Ministry, councils, the regional council and Auckland's four regional sports trusts to make "better investment decisions".

Mr Eglinton says many agencies use physical activity to aid planning.

"For example, ARTA (the regional transport authority) uses walking and cycling as a traffic decongestion and public transport tool, while the health sector uses activity to prevent and assist health conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

"If we can link the work of all these agencies at one time into communities of need we will have greater effect."

The Arpass strategy was formed after a 2001 Government report on sport and recreation found Auckland's services fragmented and duplicated.

Partially funded by Sport and Recreation NZ, ARPASS aims to improve collaboration between its other stakeholders: the ARC, the Ministry of Health, and Auckland's four regional sports trusts (Counties Manukau Sport, Sport Auckland, Sport Waitakere and Harbour Sport).

Other work to be undertaken when health data mapping is completed includes:

Environmental audits of barriers to activity _ such as traffic congestion, access to facilities and parks, safety of physical activity equipment.

Determining the amount, scale and appropriateness of physical activity programmes in those areas.

Development of programmes to better meet the needs of these communities.

- AUCKLANDER