Residents among the world’s top walkers

HONG Kong residents rank among the world’s top walkers in an international study that shows people who live in activity-friendly neighbourhoods take up to 90 minutes more exercise per week.

The study, published online in The Lancet, has “important implications for public health policy and practice” in that design of urban environment can substantially contribute to physical activity, researchers said.

The team, co-led by University of Hong Kong (香港大學) school of public health (公共.生學院) visiting professor Ester Cerin (施綺芸), reached the conclusions based on a study of 6,822 people aged between 18 and 66 from 14 cities in 10 countries on five continents.

On average, participants accumulated about 37 minutes per day of physical activity equivalent to brisk walking.

The international recommended guideline is 150 minutes a week of physical activity to stay healthy. Baltimore (巴爾的摩) in the US had the lowest average of 29.2 minutes and Wellington (威靈頓) in New Zealand (新西蘭) had the highest of 50.1 minutes.

North Shore (北岸地區), also in New Zealand, was second at 45.7 minutes, followed by Olomouc (奧洛穆茨) in the Czech Republic (捷克共和國) at 47.1, Hong Kong at 44.9, and Christchurch (基督城), also in New Zealand, at 44 minutes.

Cerin said the 44.9 minutes a day that Hongkongers spend on physical activity were mostly “ accumulated through walking for transportation”.

In another paper, Cerin said high residential density and easy access to public transport are not the only factors that make Hong Kong adults more active.

“Safety from crime is another important factor,” she said.

(This article is published on The Student Standard on 8 April 2016)

Physical activity in relation to urban environments in 14 cities worldwide: a cross-sectional study

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