HONG KONG students are less physically fit than their counterparts in the mainland, Singapore (新加坡) and Europe (歐洲) – probably because they lack exercise and study too much, new research indicates.
Not only are 27 percent of local students obese or overweight, they are less flexible and weaker – with the fitness gap with their overseas counterparts widening with age.
The University of Hong Kong’s (HKU, 香港大學) Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (學童及青少年科學系) analysed fitness data of about 100,000 students aged six to 19 from 173 primary and secondary schools.
In 2013, the department developed an electronic platform to record the fitness data. Its analysis found that 18 percent of local students were overweight and 9 percent obese.
The flexibility of an average Hong Kong girl was at the bottom of the Singaporean standard and below the mainland average.
Local boys do not fare well either, with the handgrip strength of 15-year-olds some eight kilograms, or 27 percent, weaker than their peers in the mainland and Europe.
The cardiopulmonary function of 17-year-old boys was much worse than that of boys in Europe, although the difference among girls was less pronounced.
Department associate professor Patrick Ip Pak-keung (葉柏強) said the study shows local students lack exercise, which may pose health risks including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
(The Standard, 6 January 2015)