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.
Stanley Sai-chuen Hui
Stanley Sai Chuen Hui and James R. Morrow Jr.
In this study, a questionnaire translated from a national survey on physical activity of 2,002 U.S. adults (Morrow, Jackson. Bazzarre. Milne, & Blair, 1999) was adopted to survey a random sample of 812 Chinese adults through a city wide telephone interview. The respondents demonstrated poor awareness of the role of physical activity in disease prevention. Older adults possessed poorer knowledge of physical activity but higher activity levels than their younger counterparts did. Results indicated that the level and knowledge of physical activity of Chinese adults are related to age. The perceived importance of physical activity was the lowest among other health behaviors. Age, educational level, and knowledge of appropriate exercise prescription to achieve health benefits were factors used to discriminate among sedentary, somewhat active, and physically active groups. The importance of intervention programs to raise the physical activity level and knowledge of Chinese adults was demonstrated by this study.