Bay of Plenty residents are among the most active in the country, a new report shows.

The Ministry of Health's 2017 Health and Independence Report shows 61 per cent of adults aged 15 and over in the region are doing the recommended 2 1/2 hours of exercise a week.

This made it the top region in the North Island and on par with Nelson Marlborough but behind Southern and West Coast DHB areas.

However, the data also showed 17 per cent of the region's population smoked; 31 per cent were overweight, and only 37 per cent were meeting their vegetable and fruit intake guidelines of three-plus servings of vegetables and two-plus servings of fruit per day.


Toi Te Ora Public Health Dr Jim Miller said the report ''helps us take stock of how we are doing as a nation and more locally''.

''We are all living longer, rates of premature deaths are falling, and most people are reporting they are in good health or better, and there some positive changes in risk factors such as falling smoking rates.

''However, the report also highlights that the gains in health have not been equitable, with poorer outcomes for Māori and Pacific people. Some of the risk and protective factors have not improved. Alcohol consumption is much the same, and healthy eating a bit worse and obesity rates rising.

''With a vision of lifelong health and wellbeing for all, Toi Te Ora Public Health, as the public health unit for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, is working to influence these social determinants of health.''

Toi Te Ora also works with others on a wide range of prevention-focused initiatives across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts aiming to support everyone in our community to live healthier lives, Miller said.

Sport Bay of Plenty community manager Catherine McCulloch said being active was known to have a range of positive influences on our health and wellbeing, including a reduction in the risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The recent Active NZ survey by Sport NZ revealed 76 per cent of adults were motivated to be active for wellbeing reasons, she said.

''We're working on a range of initiatives to help people get involved, from individual support through our green prescription programme, through to working with local clubs and activity providers to ensure options are available for everyone.''

Walking, biking and sailing helped Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless keep fit although he said ''I'm no supremo'' and ''I might have to improve my own performance because I might be letting the team down''.

Being active kept him balanced, but often he did more during summer.

''If you have been in meetings all day you aren't doing much other than sitting down or moving from one room to another which isn't enough. So I try to get out walking when I can as you feel less tired.''

Brownless said the walking and cycling tracks were an asset to the community and were well utilised.

Personal trainer Jen Telfer said there was a greater trend in Tauranga because it had an active culture.

''There is more of an interest and excitement about moving your body and being active and healthy. We have all this new food popping up, and the cafes are changing their foods which is awesome.''

She was fielding new inquiries weekly about her services.

City Gym Tauranga owner Brenden Stuart had been in the industry for 30 years and began his career when there were only three gyms in town.

''Now gyms are popping up all over the place. I hear every week there is another one coming. It's just gone crazy over the last five years.''

But he believed Tauranga's increasing population was a big factor and ''not necessarily more people getting into fitness''.

''A lot of people join a gym with good intentions, but a lot of them don't stick at it.''

The personal trainer said he had been doing fitness forever, so it was part of his life.

Healthy initiatives
• 5210 – The healthy way to go. It encourages children and their families/whānau to make healthy choices every day.
• Getting healthy messages to kids and young families. Early Childhood Education Services (ECEs) can use the Building Blocks for under 5s tool. It is helping more than 50 ECEs to implement positive changes such as improving their physical environment and have fun activities for children and their whānau to improve health and wellbeing.
• Helping marae become healthier - Hapū Hauora is a unique website based health resource hub that has been developed with hapū to specifically improve Māori health and celebrate whānau wellbeing.
• Helping workplaces become healthier - WorkWell is a comprehensive workplace wellbeing framework for large businesses. and
• Making our environment smoke free - The Bay of Plenty District Health Board has encouraged many local councils to have more smokefree community areas such as parks, playgrounds, town centres and bus stops.
• The Bay of Plenty District Health Board is leading by example and committing to the health and wellbeing of staff, visitors and the public by adopting the National Healthy Food and Drink Policy. A healthier food and drink environment in our hospitals will hopefully be a model for other sectors to follow.
• Activities and clubs across the Bay of Plenty can be found in Get Involved