Fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity and body mass index among teenagers in Hong Kong

Iris F.F. Benzie, Mun Yee Mimi Tse

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Increasing fruit and vegetable intake in the general population is one of the major concerns and aims of health promotion programs around the world. The teenage years are an important transition period from childhood to adulthood, when patterns of behavior and lifestyle choices are developing that will affect their current and future health. The heavy consumption of fast food and lack of adequate fruit and vegetable intake among adolescents in most developed countries are of increasing concern. Objective: The study aims to examine the fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity levels and body mass index among teenagers. Methodology: A total of 203 adolescents (115 males and 88 females, mean age 13.5 years) from a secondary school in Hong Kong took part in the study, in which their body mass index, dietary habits and physical exercise pattern were recorded. Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity, together with body fat content, were high among participants. Seventeen percent (n=35) were overweight or obese, while 26% (n=53) had body fat content that was higher than desirable. Participants' intake of fruits and vegetables was inadequate, with half consuming ≤ 1 serving of fruit per day and the great majority (90%) consuming < 3 servings of vegetables per day. The reported reasons for the low consumption of fruits and vegetables included dislike of these foods, (47%), lack of availability of fruits and vegetables at home (25%), and habitually dining out (28%). Physical activity levels were far from optimal, with almost 50% of the participants not performing any form of exercise during the previous seven days, and only 28% having done some form of exercise during the week prior. Only 22% reported doing moderate amounts of exercise. Conclusion In light of the inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables, low physical activity level, and high prevalence of overweight and obesity found in this study, educational initiatives are urgently needed to encourage teenagers in Hong Kong to adopt a healthier diet and more active lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDietary Fiber, Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Health
PublisherNova Science Publishers Inc
Pages199-210
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781617616662
ISBN (Print)9781608760251
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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