Promoting regular physical activity has been considered one of the most important aspects of preventive medicine in recent years. This is due to the fact that tremendous evidence has been found about the positive association between increasing physical activity and desirable health effects. Findings have been summarized in a number of review documents; however, most of these reviews emphasize findings retrieved from research conducted in Western countries. Few papers were found to summarize findings in physical activity and health of the Hong Kong Chinese population. Epidemiological studies revealed that there exists distinct diverse health status among different ethnic groups due to culture, beliefs, genetic makeup, health practices, and behaviors in these highly diverse groups. This chapter reviews what is known about the association between physical activity and health in the Chinese population of Hong Kong. Current health issues including coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and so on, that are specific to the Hong Kong situation are reviewed. Moreover, findings in physical activity participation levels of Hong Kong adults and children are introduced. Results indicate that the associations between physical activity and health found in the Chinese population of Hong Kong share similar trends as those reported in Western countries. Three quarters of Hong Kong children and adults are not physically active enough to achieve health benefits. The physical activity level for the Hong Kong Chinese population remains low. The need for promotional and intervention programs on physical activity participation is pressing.
The author is with the Department of Sports Science and Physical Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR.