Dietary beliefs and practices of Hong Kong mothers: Implications to health education

Mei Sheung Christine CHAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This study aims to investigate dietary belief and practices of Chinese mothers with young children in Hong Kong. It is noticed that there is an increase prevalence of childhood obesity morbidity in Hong Kong since 1980s (Leung, 1995, 1998, 2000). The cardiac vascular diseases and certain types of cancer are two top killers in Hong Kong in the last two decades (DoH, 2002). Hong Kong, a former British colony consisting of about 97% of the Chinese population, has much influenced by the western tradition. After the return of the sovereignty to the Chinese in 1997, Hong Kong has suffered from many social problems, such as, increasing rate of broken relationships and divorces, teenager suicides, unemployment, workforce mobility, migration to and from Mainland China. Under the social and political changes, traditional Chinese childcare values and practices have been questioned and influenced. A qualitative study was conducted in two childcare centres in Hong Kong. The collected data included: five-day dietary dairy of ten mothers and the tape-recorded semi-structured interviews. The mothers came from different housing estates and had different socio-economic backgrounds. The data was analysed by using a thematic approach. The results showed that these mothers embraced strong Chinese folk dietary beliefs and practices for their children. Household-based maids helping food preparation and dinning out weekly became a part of family life. Professional health dietary advises received little attention from these mothers. However, the dietary practices of these mothers have been strongly affected by their socio-economic status. This study will help the care professionals to understand the belief pattern and characteristics of the Chinese mothers in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2004


Chan, C. (2004, March). Dietary beliefs and practices of Hong Kong mothers: Implications to health education. Paper presented at the 2004 Annual International Nursing Research Conference, University of Cambridge, England.


  • Early Childhood Education
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development


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