Hongkongers too busy to exercise

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 8:09pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 8:21pm

The city’s lifestyle leaves well over half of Hongkongers with too little time or energy for exercise, according to a city-wide study released on Monday.

Less than 40 per cent of adult Hongkongers do enough exercise to qualify as leading a healthy lifestyle, the survey by the Advisory Committee for the Physical Fitness Test for the Community found.

The study looked into the exercise habits, lifestyle and health knowledge of more than 8,000 people – aged three to 69 – using fitness tests and questionnaires, between April last year and January this year.

Of the adults and elderly respondents, less than 40 per cent were considered “active” – meaning that they do at least 30 minutes of moderately intensive exercise three days a week.

Most of those who did less exercise cited “lack of time”, “too tired” and “laziness” as their reasons.

Only about 50 per cent of children and 40 per cent of adolescents surveyed met the “active” benchmark.

The study also assessed Hongkongers’ health using the body mass index recommended by the World Health Organisation.

It found that more than 26 per cent of men and women aged over 20 had the problem of core obesity – waist sizes over 90cm for men and 80cm for women.

Comparing men and women in different age groups, the study found the percentage of women with obesity increased with age – only 27 per cent of middle-aged women (aged 40 to 59) were obese, rising to 41 per cent among older women (60 to 69).

Among men, however, obesity was found most often in the middle-aged group (40 per cent), compared to young adults (35 per cent) and elderly males (34 per cent).

Among adolescents, boys and girls face different problems: around 18 per cent of boys were overweight or obese, while more than 20 per cent of girls were underweight.

The study was steered by the Advisory Committee for the Physical Fitness Test for the Community, set up under the Sports Commission, and co-ordinated by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.