Sleep-deprived and internet-mad, Hongkongers place last in healthy living survey of Asia

Researcher sees no significant improvements in city’s results since 2013 survey

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 May, 2016, 3:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 May, 2016, 3:27pm

Hong Kong ranks last among 15 places in Asia Pacific in a recent healthy living index, with local residents on average daily sleeping just 6.5 hours and spending 3.7 hours online for non-work purposes.

The survey polled more than 10,000 adults in the region including 605 adults in Hong Kong in January, and put the city behind mainland China and Macau, which placed first and second respectively.

It found Hong Kong scored the lowest among 15 places in Asia Pacific in the healthy living index, which factored respondents’ satisfaction with their health and the extent of their healthy behaviour.

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Singapore took 11th in the survey.

It found Hong Kong respondents spent an average of 3.7 hours a day on the web for non-work purposes – higher than the Asia-Pacific average of 3 hours daily.

The survey also found Hongkongers were sleep-deprived. Although local respondents said they wanted to sleep 8 hours daily, on average they said they had 6.5 hours of actual sleep. The 1.5-hour sleep deficit was the highest among the 15 places that were surveyed.

In comparison, residents of India and the mainland only had a sleep deficit of half an hour.

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Thomas Isaac, director of Intuit Research, who conducted the survey, said the poll did not look specifically into why people in Hong Kong spent so much time on the web but he believed people were using social media.

“The more time people spend on the internet, the less time they can spend on other things,” Isaac added. “Sleep is one of the things that gets affected and also exercise time gets affected.”

Isaac said the research had not looked into whether there was a correlation between people’s incomes and their health habits.

When a similar survey was done in 2013, Hong Kong ranked 13th.

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“The fact that Hong Kong has not moved and its score has stayed stagnant is an indication that there have really been no significant improvements in Hong Kong, either in behaviour or health satisfaction,” Isaac said.

“Hong Kong has stayed stagnant while other regions have moved up, which is why Hong Kong is in last place.”

Separately, the survey found just 29 per cent of Hong Kong respondents had a medical check-up in the past year, compared with the regional average of 52 per cent.

The city’s stress level was also high, tallying a score of 6.7 compared to the regional average of 6.2 on a scale of one to 10.

The survey was commissioned by AIA Group to examine health habits in the region.