About half of residents in Hong Kong are overweight or obese due to prevalent unhealthy lifestyle practices, results of a population health survey released Monday by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) showed.
The survey, conducted by the HKSAR government's Department of Health between December 2014 and August 2016 on over 12,000 Hong Kong residents aged 15 and above, showed that some major common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as being overweight or obese (50 percent), hypertension (27.7 percent), diabetes mellitus (8.4 percent) and hypercholesterolaemia (49.5 percent) are prevalent among the general population.
The development of these NCDs, regarded as risk factors for chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cancers, is "closely related to unhealthy lifestyle practices," Director of Health Constance Chan said, adding that Hong Kong residents' unhealthy lifestyle practices include inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables, a high-salt diet, drinking, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle.
According to the survey, about 86.3 percent of the population's salt consumption exceeds the limit recommended by the World Health Organization. The survey also showed a high prevalence of inadequate fruit and vegetable intake at 94.4 percent, and a marked increase in alcohol drinking prevalence from 33.3 percent in 2003-2004 to 61.4 percent in 2014-2015.
Chan suggested preventing NCDs by having a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, and not smoking and drinking. She also reminded Hong Kong residents of having health assessment and tests to identify the presence of common NCDs early as age increases.
"The DH has all along been working on various aspects in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Noting the high prevalence of unhealthy eating habits and hypercholesterolaemia from this survey, the adoption of the '3 Low, 1 High' (i.e. low in salt, sugar and oil and high in fibre) healthy eating principle cannot be overemphasized," Chan said.
The population health survey, the second large-scale territory-wide survey of its type, have 12,022 land-based non-institutional people aged 15 and above from 5,435 households interviewed and 2,347 participants joining the health examination.
In order to enhance systems of surveillance, the Department of Health said it will conduct household-based health behavior surveys every two years and household-based population health surveys with physical measurements and biochemical testing every six years.