Dietary habits, physical activity and obesity in Hong Kong residents
Recent data from the Hong Kong Population Health Survey 2003/04 commissioned by the Department of Health estimate that 17.8% of the population aged 15 and above are overweight (BMI 23.0–24.9 kg/m2) and 21.1% are obese (BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m2). Similar to many industrialized societies, it is generally believed that chronic positive energy balance as a consequence of excess energy intake (energy dense processed food typically high in fat, protein and refined carbohydrates with a low fiber content) together with a sedentary life is the main culprit. Against this background, a territory-wide ‘EatSmart@school.hk’ campaign (http://www.eatsmart.gov.hk) organized by the Department of Health, with support from academic institutes and voluntary organizations, has been commissioned since November 2005. So far several important guidelines have been published including the ‘Nutritional Guidelines on Lunch Box / Snacks for Primary School Students’. We certainly welcome a long term vision and a direction from policy makers relating to a population and public health approach to obesity. The prevention of obesity requires a review of dietary and physical activity habits and then measures to change our habits in a practical and reliable way.
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