Results of a study carried out by the Department of Health from December 2014 to August 2016 suggest that about 50 percent of Hong Kong population could be considered overweight or fat.
If the waist-hip ratio (WHR) is used as an indicator, 40.1 percent of the population was considered abdominally obese. Abdominal obesity is also defined by the Department of Health by the waist measurement of 90 centimeters (about 36 inches) or above for Asian men, and 80cm (about 32 inches) or above for Asian women.
There is a long list of obesity-related health problems, from high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, heart diseases, cardiovascular diseases to complications or chronic illnesses like metabolic arthritis, degenerative joint disease, fatty liver disease, gallstones, cholelithiasis, gastroesophageal reflux disease and infertility. Even cancers like colorectal cancer and prostate cancer have to do with obesity.
People nowadays are becoming more health conscious and beginning to take body shape and weight as the most obvious health indicators.
Why do we get fat though? Imbalanced diet, lack of exercise, insufficient rest and poor emotion management can all be the causes as their opposites are pillars of healthy lifestyle.
City dwellers are so busy that they seldom have regular mealtimes. Once they get a chance to eat, they may gulp down everything within seconds. They even give up on their time to exercise or sleep. Together with various kinds of pressure and fluctuating emotions, they gain weight easily over time.
The road to eliminating excessive fat on the tummy begins with changes in lifestyle.
It is recommended that one should exercise at least 45 minutes to an hour a day and for three times a week. The types of exercises should include both weight-bearing exercises, such as dumbbell training or equipment training, and aerobic exercises.
Continuous low-intensity exercises that last over 30 minutes can be cycling, running or swimming. To maximize the effect of fat-burning, one must pair weight-bearing exercises with aerobic exercises.
Aerobic exercise alone may reduce fat but it does not build muscles so one is likely to gain weight again, while weight-bearing exercise alone does build muscles but it rarely burns fat.
Whichever exercise we engage in, we should understand the correct body gestures and the know-how of equipment.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 10
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
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