Hong Kong must officially classify obesity as a disease so as to raise public awareness on the risks associated with corpulence, the Hong Kong Association for the Study of Obesity (HKASO) said on Tuesday.
The call came after a survey by the association revealed that many people in Hong Kong lack sufficient knowledge about obesity and therefore ignore the seriousness of the problem.
According to the survey results released yesterday, more than seven in 10 respondents were not aware that the World Health Organization has classified obesity as a disease, while 45 percent of them did not believe obesity is an illness.
The poll also found only about one in three respondents knew that the body mass index (BMI) is used to indicate whether a person is overweight or obese.
Of them, only around 35 percent selected the definition of BMI correctly.
The BMI formula is “weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared”, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
For the Hong Kong study, the HKASO polled 1,008 Hongkongers aged 18 or above through random phone calls during the period Oct. 9 to 22 last year, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Calling obesity the source of many kinds of illness, Dr Francis Chow Chun-chung, president of the association, said an obese person is more prone to cardiovascular diseases, fatty liver and gallbladder disease, among other illnesses.
Chow pointed out that the survey revealed that 65 percent of the respondents had underestimated their weight and among them, the proportion with such problems as high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia was higher than that seen in those who overestimated their weight.
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