In Hong Kong, about one in every two adults is overweight or obese, the Department of Health said on Saturday, as it called on the public to adopt a healthier lifestyle in support of World Obesity Day.
World Obesity Day was an annual campaign established in 2015 and has been observed on March 4 since 2020. This year’s theme is “Changing Perspectives: Let's Talk About Obesity.”
Apart from the half-half overweight rate, the department added the local situation of overweight and obesity deteriorated amid the Covid
-19 pandemic with decreasing physical activities and a change in dietary patterns.
The detection rates of overweight, including obesity, of primary and secondary school students increased from 18 and 20 percent in 2018/19 to 21 and 22 percent in 2021/22.
School closures, online classes, decreased physical activity, and more screen time resulted in the increased risk of being overweight and obese, the department noted.
The department added that about a quarter of adults performed insufficient physical activities, citing its own Population Health Survey 2020-22.
Almost all Hongkongers (98 percent) aged 15 or above reported an inadequate daily intake of fruit and vegetables – an average of fewer than five servings.
“The fundamental cause of obesity is more calories are consumed than expended.
“To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, members of the public are encouraged to eat a balanced diet and refrain from alcohol drinking, be physically active, and reduce the amount of time spent being sedentary,” a spokesman for the department said.
As eating out and ordering takeaway food are common dining options for citizens, the department has been enlisting the support of restaurants to provide healthier dishes through the EatSmart Restaurant Star+ campaign.
The department has also initiated the StartSmart@school.hk and EatSmart@school.hk campaigns to encourage healthy eating and physical activity to create an environment conducive to a healthy lifestyle in pre-primary institutions and primary schools.
The department pointed to the “10,000 Steps a Day” social marketing campaign, with an aim to promote walking as a simple form of physical activity that can easily be incorporated into daily lives.
For more information about healthy living, please visit the department’s Change4Helath website.