Health-Risk Behaviors among Chinese Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic

William Ho Cheung Li, Laurie Long Kwan Ho, Ankie Tan Cheung, Wei Xia, Peige Song, Joyce Oi Kwan Chung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This study analyzed archived data from a previous large-scale survey study on multiple health-risk behaviors among Chinese adults in Hong Kong between 21 June and 31 August 2021. In addition, this study examined participants’ perceptions of the risks associated with their behaviors, their attitudes toward adopting healthy behaviors, and the impact of COVID-19 on their health-risk behaviors. A total of 4605 participants who had at least one health-risk behavior were included in the analysis. The results showed that about half of the participants were unaware that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) can be caused by health-risk behaviors such as tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet. More than half of the participants did not have regular body checkups or monitor their physical health at home. Many participants paid more attention to their health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but few made changes to their unhealthy habits or adopted a healthier lifestyle. Of the 704 smokers, 60.9% did not realize that smoking increases the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others. Only 32.2% and 11.9% smokers had the intention to quit smoking and reduced their cigarette consumption, respectively. Additionally, 13.6% reported that their daily cigarette consumption had increased, and 78.8% changed their smoking behavior during the pandemic. Healthcare professionals must educate the public about the association between health-risk behaviors and NCDs and between COVID-19 and NCDs. The government should formulate a long-term plan to strengthen the primary healthcare system and address the challenges posed by the rising prevalence of NCDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2157
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • drinking alcohol
  • health-related lifestyles
  • health-risk behaviors
  • non-communicable diseases
  • physical inactivity
  • smoking
  • unhealthy diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Health-Risk Behaviors among Chinese Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this