One-third of Hong Kong adults gain weight amid 5th wave of Covid-19 pandemic, survey finds
One in three Hongkongers have put on about 10% of their body weight because of a lack of outdoor activities since the outbreak of the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a study by the Hong Kong Obesity Society has found. The online questionnaire survey of 559 adults was conducted from May 27 to June 6. It found that 53% of the respondents with BMI 25 or above (considered as obese for an Asian adult) and about one-fourth of those with BMI 18.5 - 22.9 have gained weight. Among those who have put on weight, 66% have seen their body weight increased by 5-10%, 16% by 10-15% and 13% by more than 15%. The researchers said the weight gain was driven by two reasons: the resumption of dining in services at restaurants and reduced physical exercise. They survey found that 44% of the respondents wanted to dine out following the relaxation of dining-in restrictions last month as they feared the restrictions may be restored should the pandemic worsen again. Another 38% said they had avoided outdoor activities to stay safe and refrained from exercising with their masks on because it was uncomfortable. The study also found that obesity discrimination still exists in Hong Kong, with over 60% of the respondents believing that people who are overweight are more likely to be too lazy to exercise and to indulge in binging. In fact, the researchers said many obesity patients have difficulties losing weight for medical reasons and discrimination discourages them from seeking medical help. Tsui Tsum-miu, president of the Hong Kong Obesity Society, said the medical sector and many members of the public solely focused on serious cases of obesity and ignored the less severe ones. More community efforts should be directed towards supporting obesity patients, he said.
Flexitarian: an easy way to go green
- Health & Environment
- The Young Reporter
To become a flexible vegetarian in Hong Kong "I'd like to have the Pesto Chicken Salad, but please take away the chicken," said Ms. Chan at a bakery cafe. Her friend surprisingly asked her, "What? You're taking away the best part of the dish!" This is a situation often encountered by Chan Wun, but her diet habit is different from that of traditional "vegetarians". She is a member of a rising group, "flexitarians", a combination of "flexible" and "vegetarians". The number of flexitarians rose from 5% in 2008 to 22% in 2016, while vegetarians only account for 3% of Hong Kong's population. Up till 2017, over 1,000 restaurants in Hong Kong have joined an initiative programme to offer vegetarian-friendly menus, according to a social startup, Green Monday. "In order to lose weight, I had become a vegetarian for around two months during high school," said Ms. Chan, an 18-year-old university student. She had no choice but to constantly ordered Indian curry since it was the only vegetarian choice at school. Things become more difficult during family gatherings. When Ms. Chan's mother cooks vegetarian meals for her non-vegetarian father and brother often complain that the meals lacked protein. "It is difficult to avoid eating meat especially when we are living in Chinese culture where specific cuisines and dishes will be offered during celebratory events and festivals," said Ms. Chan. "Then I decided to quit because of inconvenience, time cost and expense." Instead of being a strict vegetarian, she opted for a flexitarian-style diet. In fact, the problem was not faced just by Ms. Chan when she was a vegetarian. To Hiu-yan, 20, a university student who has been a vegetarian for two years, said that the once-athlete started this eating habit to keep fit. Ms. To said she faced limited …