Hong Kong men should cultivate a healthy lifestyle

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 June, 2003, 12:00am

I applaud your article headlined 'I'm all right, Jack' and the accompanying 'Calls for a global agenda on male private parts' (June 23), highlighting the long-neglected area of men's health.

The picture among Hong Kong's males is similar. A survey by our association in 2001 of 1,500 men revealed that over 40 per cent of working men worked more than 10 hours a day, were overweight or obese, and did not exercise regularly; nearly 40 per cent smoked and drank alcohol habitually; and only 25 per cent had had a physical check-up in the previous 12 months.

The respondents' level of knowledge about prostate gland disease and sexually transmissible diseases and Aids was lower than that of other chronic diseases. Of those who had sex partners, only 25 per cent used a condom during every act of sexual intercourse, 35 per cent never or seldom used a condom, and the remainder used one sometimes or most of the time. We called for men to live healthier and practise safer sex.

We opened Hong Kong's first Well Men Clinic and, encouraged by the response, launched the Young Men Sexual Health Service, for males aged 14 to 26. These services address an unmet need, but we need more publicity to persuade men to come forward.

Dr SUSAN FAN, Executive Director, Family Planning Association of Hong Kong