Epidemiological, clinical and basic research has established that diet and lifestyle play a significant role in the etiology and pathogenesis of major chronic diseases, and that modifying these risk factors can substantially decrease disease risk. Promotion of lifelong physical activity in young generations has become a priority for public health authorities. The transition from educational institution to working life is a particularly important stage in the development of dietary and exercise patterns for later life. The purpose of this study was to determine whether physical activity, percent body fat, and eating habits differ in subjects from two regions with different social, cultural, and racial backgrounds, but similar education level. 257 Hong Kong college students (87 males and 170 females; all Chinese), and 213 Malaysian college students (101 males and 112 females; 210 Malays), aged between 18 to 25 year-old participated in this study. Subjects' percent body fat was determined by a body fat monitor (Omron). Physical activity and eating habits were evaluated by a self-completed questionnaire. It was found that Hong Kong subjects had significant (p<0.01) higher overall mean percent body fat (22.02 ± 5.23% versus 19.78 ± 6.83%, Mean ± SD). Consequently, Hong Kong subjects were less active physically when compared to Malaysian subjects; approximately one quarter (28.4%) of the Hong Kong subjects did not exercise at all in a week compared to 2.3% of Malaysian subjects. Additionally, about half (45.5%) and three quarter (73.2%) of the Hong Kong and Malaysian subjects exercised two to four times per week respectively. Regarding eating habits, it was found that Hong Kong subjects were more particular with breakfast, lunch and dinner compared to Malaysian subjects. Results indicated that Hong Kong subjects who took breakfast, lunch and dinner daily were 35.8%, 48.6% and 79.8% respectively, and 22.1%, 44.6% and 29.6% respectively in Malaysian subjects. Nevertheless, Hong Kong subjects have shown higher frequency in snacking; 8.6% of Hong Kong subjects snacked daily compared to 2.3% of Malaysian subjects. With regards to fast food, 47.9% of Hong Kong subjects always took fast food compared to 7.5% of Malaysia subjects. The data obtained suggests that both physical activity and eating habits have some influence on the percent body fat in subjects from these two different regions. Information obtained from this study can then be used for counseling to enhance health-related behaviors such as physical activity and eating habits in Hong Kong and Malaysian college students.
|Publication status||Published - 2004|
CitationOoi, F. K., Chin, M.-K., & Singh, R. (2004, March). Comparison of physical activity, percent body fat, and eating habits between Hong Kong and Malaysian college students. Paper presented at the 2004 AAHPERD National Convention and Exposition, New Orleans, LA.
- Health promotion
- College level issues
- Physical activity