The problem of obesity in Hong Kong is a significant issue that the community as a whole is trying to arouse public awareness to it. According to the statistics provided by a research done by the Hong Kong Department of Health, the estimated percentage of overweight and obese of the whole population in Hong Kong are 17.8% and 21.2% respectively(Hong Kong Department of Health 2009). This report will elaborate more on the reasons for obesity and the suggest preventive measures that can be taken in Hong Kong.
Reasons for obesity in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a developed city known by many which has advanced technology and well structured economy, yet having a relatively high rate of obesity compared with some other developed countries. This report focuses on three main areas of reasons causing obesity in Hong Kong which are: individual's eating habits and lifestyles, food industry development, and social culture.
1. Individual's eating habits and lifestyles
Individuals bear high responsibility for obesity. Modern people tends to have fast foods which are energy-dense with high fat, sugar and starch level as they are cheaper, tastier, and more convenient than energy-diluted foods(Hong Kong Department of Health 2009). This phenomenon is seen in all developed countries where an average rise of 50% per capita consume more meat and dairy products (Hong Kong Department of Health 2009). In addition to diet factor, individuals' lifestyle with the increase availability of transportation and leisure pursuits cause the problem of physical inactivity with estimated 17% and insufficient physical activity with estimated 31%-35% among adults in the world (Hong Kong Department of Health 2009). Moreover, Hong Kong people have hectic businessman lifestyle schedule. There is a trend of reducing sleeping time with an average of 7.14h per day and increasing working hours of 9h for men (C Ko & J Chan 2007) which cause the increase in BMI.
2. Food Industry Development
Since the development of food industry is affected by the globalization, many fast food shops are rapidly enlarging their market in Hong Kong. One fast food meal supply 1000-2000 kilocalories that occupies 100% of a daily energy requirement(Hong Kong Department of Health 2009). There are high promotion on these fast food shops and abundance in food supply on streets may prompt people embrace the fast food culture, while inducing weight gaining.
3. Social Culture
On the other hand, the culture force is thought to be a factor to obesity in Hong Kong people especially children. Taking family as a unit, children are more exposed to unhealthy eating habit and lifestyle as their parents have less concern on their children as they have to go out for work. Besides, school are seen with providing more soft drinks and snacks vending machines which may encourage students to consume high sweet beverages (Hong Kong Department of Health 2009).
Preventive measures that can be taken
Base on the above reasons, this report focuses on suggestions to alleviate the problem of obesity from the point of view of individual and social level. Firstly, increasing the physical activity by performing more household chores and limit time spent on sedentary activity, for example, watching TV (New York City Department of Health 2007). It is essential to exercise at least 40-69 minutes 5 days a week preferably every day to enhance burning of calories. Another key element to the obesity problem is to keep a healthy diet by eating less high-calorie food while more fiber and fruits, drinking water may also help in keeping a healthy body (New York City Department of Health 2007).
Furthermore, the state plays the role to promote healthy lifestyles to launch community-wide campaigns like the previous "Healthy Exercise for AllCampaign" in 2000 through health education and mass media publicity with 55% respondents claimed to exercise (Hong Kong City Department of Health 2005). Though result may not be associated with the campaign, public health promoted by government may draw public attention to the issue of healthy lifestyles.
Though statistics show strong evidences proving the severity of the problem of obesity in Hong Kong, there is hope for people to pursue a healthy and happy life. By taking initiatives to eat healthily and do exercise, through the promotion of government, as well as proper education for children, obesity may be eliminated eventually.
Hong Kong Department of Health (2009). Tackling Obesity: Its Causes and Preventative Actions. Hong Kong Department of Health
C Ko and J Chan (2007). International Journal of Obesity. Volume 31. Pages 254 to 260
New York City Department of Health (2007). Preventing and Managing Overweight and Obesity in Adults. New York City Department of Health
Hong Kong Department of Health (2005). Fighting Obesity in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Department of Health