Press Release



Healthy Living Survey Findings Announced


The Department of Health (DH) announced that almost all (92 percent) respondents to a comprehensive survey in 1999 graded their health in the past three months as either very good or good and the mean self-rated health score of all respondents was 78 out of 100.

About half (49 percent) felt tensed or under great pressure in the past month. The greatest source of pressure came from the career or job (39 percent) followed by finance (16 percent).

Most (80 percent) agreed that doing exercises regularly can prevent heart diseases. Nearly 60 percent agreed that overweight can lead to diabetes, whereas only half of them agreed that frequent eating of salty food can lead to hypertension. Most (79 percent) agreed that hypertension can lead to stroke.

Almost all (92 percent) ate fresh vegetable and more than half (57 percent) ate fresh fruit at least once a day. Most (82 percent) avoided eating some or all visible fat in the food.

More than half (52 percent) had done something to improve health or to prevent diseases in the past year and exercise was the most common action. The major reported barrier was lack of time, but on average 2.7 hours was spent daily on watching TV.

Only one-quarter of the households used a separate chopping board specifically for cutting cooked food. About two-third (64 percent) often or always washed their hands with soap, but only one quarter (26 percent) often or always washed their hands after sneezing. In environmental hygiene, about 42 percent still had hygienic problems in the vicinity of their homes.

Most (82 percent) felt that they should have more than 50 percent responsibility on their health.

The Assistant Director of Health (Personal Health Services), Dr Regina Ching today (April 27) said: "Commissioned by DH, the survey on 'Healthy Living' is one of the main components of the Government's major 'Healthy Living Campaign'.

"The objectives of the survey are to obtain baseline data on the knowledge, attitude and practice among the local adult population in relation to health, to assess their perception of their own health status and that of the general population, and to guage public opinion on priority areas for action to improve health.

"Comparative analyses of trends and determinants in health behaviour and practices could provide information on factors influencing health related lifestyle for health education and health promotion purposes."

Prof Lam Tai-hing of The University of Hong Kong Department of Community Medicine, commissioned to carry out the survey, said: "The household telephone survey was conducted on a random sample of the Chinese Cantonese-speaking adult population of Hong Kong, aged 18 to 64.

"From March to September 1999, 3,270 respondents were interviewed. The overall response rate was 72.1 percent."

For a reliability check, 320 respondents were re-interviewed and the agreement was good.

Prof Lam said the scope of the survey covered three areas of health, namely physical health, psychosocial health and environmental health. These included such topics as eating habits, exercise and hygiene habits.

Prof Lam said the recommendations of the survey included:

* Invaluable and useful baseline data collected should be widely published locally to promote awareness and interests in healthy living.

* Health promotion campaigns need to emphasize the beneficial effects of vegetable and fruit consumption in preventing cancer and harmful effects of high salt consumption.

* An effective approach in health promotion is to encourage people to act to improve health or to prevent diseases. Health promotion programmes should also motivate people to be more responsible for their own health.

* Exercise is the most common health promotion action. Health promotion programmes should aim to increase physical activity level and exercise participation, and to suggest how the perceived and experienced barrier of insufficient time should be overcome.

Members of the public can view the survey report on DH's website or the Government's Healthy Living Campaign website

End/Thursday, April 27, 2000