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NZCA Media Release
Date: 19th April 2021

Our 21st-century lifestyle and inactivity, worsened by Covid-19 lockdowns, is killing
us, warns the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA).
The warning from the country’s peak body for chiropractors follows publication of a
study that suggests inactivity drives 1 in 14 deaths globally1
. The new study
published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that inactivity drives up to
8% of noncommunicable diseases and mortality.
NZCA spokesperson and chiropractor, Dr Jenna Duehr explains: `New Zealand’s
chiropractors are specially trained to inform and inspire people to improve their
health and wellbeing and prevent future pain and disability, by educating the public
to have a greater understanding of the relationship between their spine and nervous
system, improving their posture, addressing and preventing spinal problems, and
engaging in physical activity.
`We know that inactivity is a risk factor for premature mortality and several noncommunicable diseases. The purpose of this study was to estimate the extent of the
global burden associated with physical inactivity, and to examine differences by
country income and region.’
The study looked at 168 countries to estimate how much disease could be averted if
physical inactivity were eliminated.
— Globally, 7.2% and 7.6% of all-cause and cardiovascular disease deaths,
respectively, are attributable to physical inactivity.
— The proportions of non-communicable diseases attributable to physical inactivity
range from 1.6% for hypertension to 8.1% for dementia.
— However, 69% of total deaths and 74% of cardiovascular disease deaths
associated with physical inactivity are occurring in middle-income countries, given
their population size.
Jenna Duehr comments: `The study confirms what we already knew, that the burden
associated with physical inactivity is substantial and we believe it is getting worse as
the effects of inactivity affect our younger generations.’
According to New Zealand statistics, 1 in 8 adults are doing less than 30 minutes of
physical activity per week and only around half of NZ adults are doing at least 2.5
hours per week. 4 out of 5 children aged 5-14 years are watching screens for 2 or
more hours a day2
Other studies show a significant increase in back pain, specifically lower back pain,
among children and adolescents between ages 10 and 18 years old3
. The increase
progresses linearly with age by about four percent for each year of age.
Jenna Duehr says: `A lack of active play, hours spent hunched over electronic
devices, overladen backpacks, and poorly designed and unsupportive beds are
2 Ministry of Health (2020) Annual update of key results (2019/2020): New Zealand Health
3 S J Kamper, Z A Michaleff, P Campbell, K M Dunn, T P Yamato, R K Hodder, J Wiggers,
C M Williams. Back pain, mental health and substance use are associated in adolescents.
Journal of Public Health, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdy129
setting our children up for a lifetime of pain and dysfunction. The physical
manifestation of these issues is just the tip of the iceberg; many other issues are
likely to appear over time, such as a lack of confidence, anxiety, hormone imbalance
as well as postural imbalances – to name a few4
`We know that many of us are spending more than four hours a day reading or
texting on our smartphones and when we’re hunched over our devices, the effect of
the head’s weight can reach up to 25 kgs, which may lead to dysfunction in the joints
of the neck and/or early degeneration and herniated discs. On top of this, we are
spending more time sitting at a computer. The health of the spine also impacts the
nervous system, and the follow on to problems such as these are only starting to be
recognised, with physical difficulties and social anxiety becoming more common.’
The NZCA wants to encourage all New Zealanders to do regular exercises to
minimise the effects of lifestyle choices on their spines. Regular chiropractic care
helps to support spine and nervous system integrity, and simple equipment such as
a foam roller, mobility ball or neck wedge can help to stretch overworked muscles
and improve posture.
Jenna Duehr, says: `The best posture is your next posture. We should be regularly
moving rather than remaining primarily sedentary. Good, healthy posture is learned
at a young age through physical activity. If healthy physical activity, non-sedentary
behaviour and good sleep habits are established early in life, this helps shape habits
through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. We have developed a simple,
3-minute daily exercise regime to support good posture and spinal health on our
Straighten Up NZ website:’

4 Fabricant, Peter D. MD, MPHa; Heath, Madison R. BSa; Schachne, Jonathan M. BAa,b;
Doyle, Shevaun M. MDa; Green, Daniel W. MD, MSa; Widmann, Roger F. MDa The
Epidemiology of Back Pain in American Children and Adolescents, SPINE: August 15, 2020
– Volume 45 – Issue 16 – p 1135-1142
doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000003461

Further Information
Chiropractors are uniquely placed to provide care that specifically focuses on the
health of the spine, the relationship between the spine and the nervous system, and
how this may impact proper posture and movement.
New Zealand’s chiropractors are taking the lead to inform, and inspire people to
improve their health and wellbeing by educating the public to have a greater
understanding of the relationship between their spine and nervous system,
improving their posture, addressing and preventing spinal problems, and engaging in
physical activity.
How to avoid poor posture:
1. Encourage everyone to use devices wisely; either prop up the device so that it
is at eye-level, or lie on your stomach with the device in your hands in front of
2. Hold the device straight out from your face rather than drop your head to look
at it. Take breaks every 15 minutes, or don’t use the device for more than 30
minutes a time with an equal rest of 30 minutes.
3. Limit usage for under 6-year-olds, less than one hour per day. During rapid
growth phases in older children and teens, less than two hours per day.
4. Have regular spinal health checkups with your NZCA chiropractor.
5. View the map below for your local playgrounds, and encourage your children
to play outside.

Further Information:
Dr Jenna Duehr, Chiropractor 027 485 3662 or
Peter Boyes 027 554 0500 or

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