• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Population breakdowns
  • Health systems
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2014-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-84
Sample size:1976
Area covered:National
References:Report of Population Health Survey 2014/15 (Chapter 9, Centre for Health Protection Department of Health, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Available at https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/51256.html (last accessed 01.04.2020)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1995-1996

Survey type:Measured
Age:25-74
Sample size:2875
Area covered:National
References:Asia Pacific Cohort Studies Collaboration. The burden of overweight and obesity in the Asia-Pacific region. Obesity Reviews 2006, 8: 191 - 196 - Hong Kong refernce originally from Janus ED, Hong Kong Caediovascular Risk Factor Prevalence Study Group. Epidemiology of cardiovascular risk factors in Hong Kong. Clinical Exp Pharmocological Physiology, 1997, 24: 987 - 988.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2003-2004

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-18
Sample size:2098
Area covered:National
References:Ko GT, Ozaki R, Wong GW, et al. The problem of obesity among adolescents in Hong Kong: a comparison using various diagnostic criteria. BMC Pediatr. 2008;8:10. Published 2008 Mar 4. doi:10.1186/1471-2431-8-10
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 1993

Survey type:Measured
Age:10
Sample size:Boys = 661 Girls = 623
References:Bellizzi MC, Horgan GW, Guillaume M, Dietz WH. Prevalence of childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity in Asian and European countries. In: Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence. Editors: Chunming Chen, William H. Dietz. Nestle Nutrition Workshop Series Pediatric Program. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2002.
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2014-2015

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:1976
Area covered:National
References:Report of Population Health Survey 2014/15 (Chapter 9, Centre for Health Protection Department of Health, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Available at https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/51256.html (last accessed 01.04.2020)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2003-2004

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:2098
Area covered:National
References:Ko GT, Ozaki R, Wong GW, et al. The problem of obesity among adolescents in Hong Kong: a comparison using various diagnostic criteria. BMC Pediatr. 2008;8:10. Published 2008 Mar 4. doi:10.1186/1471-2431-8-10
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by socio-economic group

Adults, 2014-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-84
Sample size:1976
Area covered:National
References:Report of Population Health Survey 2014/15 (Chapter 9, Centre for Health Protection Department of Health, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Available at https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/51256.html (last accessed 01.04.2020)
Notes:Monthly Income
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Health systems

Economic classification: High Income

Health systems summary

Public healthcare is provided by the Hong Kong government through the Department of Health and the Hospital Authority to all residents with Hong Kong identity cards at a subsidised cost. Care in this public system is generally considered to be of high quality, and the comprehensive system is made up general and specialist outpatient clinics, hospitals and Chinese Medicine clinics. To complement this public system, the government encourages the building of private hospitals to cater for patients who have insurance or can afford to pay out-of-pocket. This is to help take some of the pressure off the public system. Most employees will have some form of medical insurance in Hong Kong, and those that do tend to enter this private system.  

In 2017-18, total health expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 6.2%. Of this health expenditure, 49% was paid via the government

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?No
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Some progress
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?No
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Out of pocket

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Lack of political will, interest and action
  • Obesity not recognised as a disease
  • Lack of training for healthcare professionals
  • Lack of financial investment or coverage
  • Lack of treatment facilities
  • Lack of evidence, monitoring and research
  • Poor health literacy and behaviour

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Obesity in Hong Kong is generally considered to be a risk factor rather than a disease (though morbid obesity is sporadically classified as a disease). The primary focus appears to be on prevention and lifestyle intervention (mostly in children), with little emphasis on medical treatment.

When asked at what level of obesity people become eligible to access care, clinicians had wide-ranging responses, perhaps demonstrating the inconsistency present in practice. Generally, individuals living with obesity were thought to enter the health system via referral or due to the presence of obesity-related co-morbidities. People tended to leave the system after defaulting follow-ups or because of a failure to be referred onto more specialist care.

Obesity treatment appears to be almost entirely funded out of pocket, with limited availability of facilities and well-qualified staff. In some circumstances, insurers may fund bariatric treatment but the criteria is reportedly strict and entirely at the individual insurers’ discretion. Prince of Wales Hospital appears to have the largest public obesity clinic but it has an 18 month waiting list for initial consultation.

It was noted that no national clinical guidelines exist and there is no specialist training available for obesity in Hong Kong.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 7 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

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Actions

Go, 膏 Go! Running Programme

Running club with aim to lose at least 5% body weight

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:Hong Kong Obesity Society
Find out more:www.hkobesity.org

Nutrition Guidelines For Children Aged 2 to 6

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Categories (partial):Evidence of National Obesity Strategy/Policy or Action
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Centre for Health Promotion
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Nutrition Guidelines For Children Aged 2 to 6 For Kindergartens and Child Care Centres Revised 2018. Centre for Health Promotion & Department of Health Hong Kong

Strategy & Action Plan to Prevent & Control NCD in Hong Kong, Toward 2025.

Aligning with the WHO’s Global NCD Action Plan, the SAP focuses on four NCD (namely cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes) and four shared behavioural risk factors (namely unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol) that are potentially preventable or modifiable and have significant impact on population health.

Categories:Evidence of NCD strategy
Categories (partial):Evidence of National Obesity Strategy/Policy or Action
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Department of Health Hong Kong
Find out more:www.change4health.gov.hk
Linked document:Download linked document

Physical Fitness Challenge Day 2015

Part of the Healthy Exercise for All Campaign, The Physical Fitness Challenge Day 2015 features physical fitness tests in three areas, namely physical measurements, cardio-respiratory function and fitness performance.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2015 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Department of Health (DH)
Find out more:www.lcsd.gov.hk

Fitness programmes for children

It aims at raising the public's interest in exercising and encouraging them to exercise regularly so that they can understand the benefits of exercising to health. Thus the prevalence of childhood obesity will be controlled or reduced.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2014 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Leisure and Cultural Service Department
Find out more:www.lcsd.gov.hk

Hiking Scheme

According to the findings of the “Healthy Exercise for All Campaign ?Physical Fitness Test for the Community” announced in 2012, hiking is one of the most popular physical activities among the general This campaign aims to promote this activity and a culture of regular exercise in families through the appreciation of the fun of hiking.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2012 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Department of Health - Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Find out more:www.lcsd.gov.hk

Building Healthy Cities

Categories:Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2007 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Centre for Health Promotion
Linked document:Download linked document

Dance for Health

Dance for Health is one of the highlighted programmes of the "Healthy Exercise for All Campaign". Through organising a wide variety of dance play-in and dance nights, the public is encouraged to participate in dancing and foster a habit of doing exercise regularly for the benefit of physical and mental health.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2000 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Department of Health - Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Find out more:www.lcsd.gov.hk
References:Dance for Health

Healthy Exercise Ambassadors

Famous local athletes are invited to promote the Healthy Exercise for All Campaign as Healthy Exercise Ambassadors.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2000 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Department of Health - Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Find out more:www.lcsd.gov.hk

Healthy Exercise for All Campaign

The Campaign aims to raise the public's interest in exercising and encourages them to exercise regularly so that they can understand the benefits of exercising to health.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2000 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Department of Health (DH)
Find out more:www.lcsd.gov.hk

Rope Skipping for Fun

An intervention to help improve physical fitness and health by rope skipping. It is suggested that an accumulation of at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (at least 10 minutes per session) of moderate or above intensity will bring great benefits to health.

Categories:Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2000 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Department of Health - Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Find out more:www.lcsd.gov.hk

TRANSFORM

Commercial program (12 months) designed to prevent prediabetes and encourage weight loss using digital technology and health coaches

Categories (partial):Non-national obesity strategies
Target age group:Adults
Organisation:Blue Messa
Linked document:Download linked document

No actions could be found for the above criteria.

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