Tuesday, 28 November 2017

More Weighty Hong Kong Statistics

There's a lot more overweight people in Hong Kong than 10 years ago
Here's a shocking statistic -- half of Hongkongers aged 15 and above are overweight or obese, while the number of people who drink alcohol has doubled over the past decade, according to a citywide health survey by the government.

The study of more than 12,000 people from December 2014 to August 2016 showed a horrific picture of people's dietary habits.

More than 86 percent consumed too much salt, nearly 50 percent had high cholesterol, and almost 60 percent suffered from one or more conditions of hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Many turn to comfort foods when they are stressed or busy
The number of overweight people rose from 17.8 percent to 20.1 percent, while those who are obese increased from 21 percent to 29.9 percent of the population.

From the statistics, the survey predicted a 10.6 percent risk of cardiovascular problems, including coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease and heart failure among those aged 30 to 74 over the next 10 years.

Director of health Constance Chan Hon-yee said that alcohol consumption was a worrying trend. Ten years ago, 61.6 percent of those surveyed claimed to hardly touch alcohol, but this time 61.4 percent said they were drinkers. Many confessed to binge drinking -- from 2.2 percent a decade ago to 9.6 percent in this latest study.

"The affordability of alcohol has a direct impact on people's drinking habits," said Chan, though strangely she did not want to link the increased drinking to the scrapping of wine duties in 2008. Wine and spirits with an alcoholic strength of no more than 30 percent by volume are tax-free in Hong Kong.

The increased alcohol consumption is combined with eating too much salt and 94.4 percent not eating enough fruits and vegetables. It sounds like a giant ticking time bomb.

Increased alcohol consumption is also causing health issues
It seems strange to me that this is happening as I notice more people becoming more health-conscious and some trying to eat less meat in general and exercise a bit more. Or are these people only a tiny sliver of the population?

However, there are those who find their jobs stressful and food is a way for them to comfort themselves after a long day at the office. This is where they make bad dietary choices and feel they deserve to eat what they want. A lot of people don't cook at home, and would rather either eat out or have it delivered.

Hong Kong is a free port and a relatively capitalist society that doesn't want to nag people into telling them what they can and cannot eat. But the government needs to face the reality it has a fast-growing elderly population and encouraging them to be as healthy as possible is the best way to try to prevent medical bills from going through the roof.

While Chan wants to step up monitoring people's health every two years, that doesn't do any good if the government doesn't do anything to really push its residents to become more healthy.

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