Date
11 December 2017
Director of Health Dr. Constance Chan (right) says the findings will help strengthen the government's information base on public health and support policymaking. Photo: HKEJ
Director of Health Dr. Constance Chan (right) says the findings will help strengthen the government's information base on public health and support policymaking. Photo: HKEJ

Public survey sounds alarm over Hongkongers’ health

Director of Health Dr. Constance Chan Hon-yee called on Hong Kong people to cultivate good and healthy living habits, saying prevention is always better than cure.

The reminder came after a Population Health Survey showed six in 10 Hongkongers suffer from at least one of the “three highs”-high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar-but most of them don’t even know it, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The survey was conducted between December 2014 and August 2016 by the Department of Health.

Chan said the findings, which revealed the health status, health-related risk factors and prevalence of common non-communicable diseases, will help strengthen the government’s information base on public health and support policymaking.

The survey interviewed 12,022 citizens aged 15 and above from 4,535 households. Of them, 2,347 people accepted health examination as recommended.

According to the findings, half of the respondents were overweight or obese, which was up from 39 percent 10 years ago. The body mass index was between 23 and 24.9 for overweight and above 25 for obese.

The problem was most serious for men aged between 45 and 54, whose obesity rate was 73 percent and for women aged between 65 and 84 with a rate of 63 percent.

The prevalence rate of hypercholesterolaemia for people aged 15 to 84 was 49.5 per cent, while that for hypertension and diabetes mellitus was about 28 percent and about 8 percent, respectively.

The prevalence rate of one or more of the three highs was nearly 60 percent, although more than half of those with such diseases were not aware they had the issues.

Six in 10 of the respondents were in the habit of drinking alcoholic beverages, almost double the ratio 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, the survey found unhealthy eating habits were attributed to the prevalence of the three highs.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than 5 grams per day for dietary salt intake, the average amount of salt consumed by males was 9.8 grams and 7.9 grams for females.

In addition, more than nine in 10 of the respondents ate only two servings of fruits and vegetables per day on average, less than five recommended by the WHO.

The department predicted the mean cardiovascular disease risk for people aged 30 to 74 over the next 10 years is 10.6 percent, suggesting enormous social costs on healthcare.

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TL/JC/RA

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