Health survey sparks warning over risk factors

Local | Carine Chow 27 Oct 2021

About 99 percent of people have at least one risk factor of heart diseases and cancer, a survey has found.

The survey was conducted last month by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and commissioned by the Hong Kong College of Cardiology.

Of the 1,005 respondents, 92 percent do not eat sufficient vegetables and fruits, and only five percent of those aged between 35 and 44 years consume the recommended portions.

Almost half of the respondents have fewer than seven hours of sleep. One-fifth of this number with cardiovascular disease or the three highs - high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure - have less than six hours of sleep. Having less than six hours of sleep increases the chance of high-risk factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure and central obesity.

Nearly 70 percent were found to have inadequate exercise.

Data also revealed that 15 percent of respondents had smoked in the past year, and one in every five persons between 25 and 54 years is a regular smoker.

Apart from poor lifestyle habits, cardiologist Chan Ngai-yin said "cardiovascular burden can also be significantly heavier for those who are overweight, obese or suffer from chronic illnesses."

The survey also found 18 percent and 27 percent of the respondents could be classified as overweight or obese, respectively.

Chan said the results showed no improvement when compared to similar past studies conducted by the Department of Health.

The college urged citizens to plan their diet according to the principle of "three lows, one high and zero trans fat," which means low in oil, sugar and salt, and high in fiber. Citizens should have two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables everyday as well.

Adults are also advised to engage in moderate-intensity aerobic physical activities for at least 150 minutes or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activities for at least 75 minutes a week. Smokers are encouraged to quit immediately.

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