There’s that t-shirt sold at the Otara flea-market that says: “My mum can beat up your dad”.\u00a0 And it’s true!\u00a0 Our Samoan mothers can squash any little person in their way.\u00a0 Polynesians have always been a little bit bigger than most other peoples.\u00a0 Super Samoans!\nHere in Niu Sila \/ New Zealand the national au lakapi \/ rugby team, the All Blacks are dominated by Maori and Pacific Islanders of Polynesian descent.\u00a0 Across the Tasman in Ausetalia \/ Australia one in four lakapi liki \/ rugby league players are Polynesian, with 75 per cent of junior representative teams in New South Wales of Polynesian heritage.\u00a0 In Amelika \/ America, there is a similar story developing in the NFL competition.\u00a0 I would hazard to guess there are less than 2 million Polynesians in a world of over 6 billion, yet why is our physique special enough to excel our people in to national sports teams?\u00a0 Super humans? A product of evolution?\n[ad#txt_img_skyscraper]There is a theory (also known as the fast twitch muscle fibres theory) that Polynesian people are descendants of those early mariners that crossed the great waters and became the original inhabitants of the South Pacific Islands.\u00a0 In order to survive those long cold oceanic journeys, their Polynesian bodies evolved to develop maximum muscle building capabilities as a means of generating and preserving body temperature.\u00a0 This was a direct adaptation to an environmental factor.\u00a0 Those that could not adapt died, whereas the survivors carried with them genetic advantages, creating a hybrid body of sorts, capable of performing enormous feats of physical labor, on very little calories, and very little water.\u00a0 These early evolutionary patterns form the basis of the contemporary Polynesian body.\u00a0 It enables Polynesian bodies to:\n1. Build muscle easily\n2. Possess unique strength to mass capabilities\n3. Withstand harsh environmental conditions more easily\n4. Endure long periods with little food and little water\nUnfortunately these adaptations also mean Polynesian bodies will:\n1. Store excess energy more easily in the form of body fat\n2. Store excess water subcutaneously\n3. Burn calories at a slower more gradual pace\nOr so the theory goes.\nIn Niu Sila on Tuesday, the media were running articles on a newly released study showing Niu Sila is the third fattest nation in the developed world.\u00a0 The Health Care Data 2009 report, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, focused on 30 nations.\u00a0 Of those that reported on weight issues, all showed they were getting fatter.\u00a0 The obesity rate among adults in New Zealand in 2007 was 26.5 per cent.\u00a0 This compared with figures reported the previous year by the United States at 34.3 per cent and Mexico at 30 per cent.\u00a0 The figure compares with a reported 25 per cent obesity rate in New Zealand in 2003 and 18 per cent in 1997.\nPeople in Niu Sila have jumped on the band wagon to show the rise in the obesity epidemic.\u00a0 While others use it to point the blame in the 3rd placing at the large Polynesian population here in Niu Sila.\u00a0 While it is true that Polynesians do have obesity related health problems, the figures used when comparing between Polynesians and other ethnic groups need to be qualified.\u00a0\nWhat is often used by these studies to show obesity is the Body Mass Index (BMI).\u00a0 The BMI is a measurement of body weight in relation to a person\u2019s height.\u00a0 A BMI chart tells whether a person is their ideal weight, overweight or obese.\nBut there are also a steady acceptance in the health and scientific communities that Polynesians have a different body mass index to Caucasians.\u00a0 Even the Caucasian BMI have had a few speed bumps, with claims that Brad Pitt would be considered obese and so would all the Palagi’s in the All Blacks team.\nA senior research fellow at Auckland\u2019s Department of Community Health, Dr Boyd Swinburn says \u201cIf Polynesians use the European charts, they\u2019ll be misguided.\u00a0 In the past, the average BMI for Europeans was about 25 to 30, so we assumed there was more obesity in the Polynesian community.\u00a0 We will need to reassess that information using the BMI charts for Polynesians which are relevant to them.\u201d\n\u201cThe preliminary indications are that Polynesians have less body fat than Europeans for a given body size, but they have a higher muscle content which is unusual for people from the tropics,\u201d says Dr Swinburn.\u00a0 His studies also indicated that the bone density for Polynesians is higher than Europeans.\u00a0 This means Polynesians\u2019 bones are heavier and have a calcium level which makes them less prone to osteoporosis and other bone disorders than Europeans.\n\nIn a later article published in the International Journal of Obesity, Dr Swinburn concluded at higher BMI levels, Polynesians were significantly leaner than Europeans, implying the need for separate BMI definitions of overweight and obesity for Polynesians.\u00a0 \u201cThis means that a 100kg Polynesian man will have less fat and more muscle than a 100kg European man.\u00a0 If you put both on a body-building programme, the Polynesian would probably bulk up faster because he has more muscle mass to work with.”\nThat’s not to say that many Polynesians are not obese, but to use the BMI for Caucasians on Polynesians is misrepresented.\u00a0 As Dr Swinburn said “However, if they [a Caucasian and a Polynesian] both ate the same amount of fatty foods over a period of time, the Polynesian would be more likely to develop heart disease, gout and diabetes at a faster rate.\u201d\u00a0\nKnowing the types of crap food (mostly the cheap meat from Niu Sila - lamb flaps, corned beef and brisket) our people have become accustomed to, it’s not too hard to see that we have become obese even using our own (BMI) indicators.