Hongkongers are health-conscious but nine out of 10 do not eat enough fruit or vegetables. They take too little exercise because of their long working hours, and almost a third are obese. These are among the findings of a survey of 8,000 Hong Kong families, which form the basis for a 10-point 'healthy living index' by which residents can gauge their health. Using the index, people can add or subtract points according to various aspects of their lifestyle, with the goal of reaching a maximum 10 points. The index, which is in Chinese only, was devised from results of the survey conducted by the Jockey Club Charities Trust and the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong. 'It will help people assess their health status easily and show them how to earn points to reach 10,' Professor Lam Tai-hing, director of the School of Public Health, said while releasing the results yesterday. For example, a person who stopped smoking 10 years or more ago earns two points, while somebody who stopped less than ten years ago earns only one, and a current smoker gets zero. During the two-year project, the team interviewed more than 20,000 Hong Kong families and randomly selected about 8,000 to be included in the survey. The questions covered topics such as alcohol and tobacco consumption, physical activity, living habits and health status. It found that Hongkongers do try to take care of their health: 81 per cent are non-smokers or have quit for over ten years, and more than 90 per cent drink alcohol in reasonable amounts or not at all. But that is not enough for a healthy lifestyle. Only 30 per cent of participants exercise enough - 2 1/2 hours a week - which Lam attributed mainly to Hongkongers' tendency to work long hours. He suggested walking home from work or getting off the bus one or two stops early, since walking 30 minutes can burn up to 400 calories. 'Hongkongers are healthier than in other places in the world, but in the past few years we have seen the number of overweight people increase. We need to pay attention.' Another team member, Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee of HKU, said the next step was to reach out to communities and the district councils. 'Our ultimate goal is to have the government put more resources into creating an environment that entices people to exercise and live healthily.' The 10-point Healthy Living Index calculator can be found online at: http://healthyindex.family.org.hk .