Hong Kong children and teenagers scored a “D” in overall physical activity compared with international standards, according to a study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
The study is the first such research on Hong Kong students and compared them with their counterparts from 37 countries, news website hk01.com reports.
Hong Kong children and teens fared worst in categories such as “overall physical exercise” and “family support”, with less than half able to reach the World Health Organization’s recommendation of at least one hour of physical exercise a day.
Hong Kong’s rating was similar to the average global reading which shows that the general trend in overall physical activity is low, the report said.
Meanwhile, many Hong Kong schools have tried to have at least two physical education lessons per week but the actual sessions are 20 percent shorter than scheduled.
The study found that only 30 percent of Hong Kong parents exercised at least once a week with their children, scoring another “D” and lagging behind the Netherlands and Australia.
CUHK sports education professor Wong Heung-sang said the cause for this phenomenon is static behavior and the heavy workload of students or spending long hours on electronic devices.
Although there is no academic research to prove it, lack of parental support and involvement in exercising with children can be due to long working hours, said Martin Wong, CUHK professor of family medicine and primary healthcare.
Wong urged schools to use their sports lessons efficiently to encourage students to exercise, instead of the usual 15 minutes wasted in lining up and changing clothes for their PE lessons.
Hong Kong students led in certain areas compared with their Asian peers.
They scored a “B” in both “walking or cycling to school” and using “community facilities”.
The researchers said Hong Kong should follow the “three more, one less” principle — more physical exercise, more organizational sports (sports teams), more parental involvement and less static behavior — to improve the situation.
The government should also set up standards for evaluating its sports policies.
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