Study looks at ‘fun’ exercise for boys


Dr Sarah Shultz

A team of researchers at Massey University will study whether engaging in “fun” exercise is successful in reducing obesity.

Dr Sarah Shultz of the School of Sport and Exercise in Wellington is leading the study. She is looking for overweight Maori and Pasifika teenage boys to take part in the three-month study.

Participants will undertake boxing training in place of traditional exercises such as weight training and running.

“As a biomechanist, I really like weight training and non-contact boxing because it puts less pressure on the joints of overweight kids,” she says. “This programme has the added benefit of including fun exercises that are manageable for kids who may not have the fitness levels to take part in other sports.”

The boys will need to attend three exercise sessions each week for three months. The sessions at the Petone Boxing Club will be a mix of resistance weight training and boxing skills; each session will be supervised by one of the club’s assistant coaches. 

There is an opportunity for the boys to stay on at the boxing club after the program is finished.

Participants will have blood tests before and after the programme to measure progress, and an ultrasound to help understand heart health and the potential risk for metabolic disease (for example, type 2 diabetes).

The boys and their parent/guardian will have the opportunity to receive a report on their health assessment.

Anyone wishing to participate can contact Sarah Shultz at


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