Prevalence of chronic fatigue among Chinese adults in Hong Kong: A population-based study

Wing Sze WONG, Richard FIELDING

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Background: Epidemiologic data is available on chronic fatigue for Western, but not for Chinese populations. The aims of the present study were to determine the prevalence of chronic fatigue in the general population of Hong Kong, compare health and lifestyle characteristics of non-chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue cases, and identify risk factors for chronic fatigue. Methods: We performed telephone interviews on 5001 randomly selected Chinese adults aged ≥ 18 years administering the Chinese version of Chronic Fatigue Scale (ChCFS), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and quality of life (QoL) indexed by Medical Outcomes Study 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF12). Lifestyle, and sociodemographic data were also collected. Chronic fatigue was defined according to Fukuda et al.'s (1994) criteria and case criterion was a ChCFS total scores ≥ 4. Results: The weighted prevalence of chronic fatigue was 10.7%, which was equivalent to 0.6 million adults in Hong Kong. Higher prevalence rates were found in females, older age groups, and low socioeconomic status. Fully adjusted stepwise regression analyses identified older age, retirees, housewife, existing long-term health problems, higher HADS scores, poor QoL, and low self-perceived health to be significantly associated with increased risk of chronic fatigue, whereas regular exercise was associated with decreased risk of chronic fatigue (all p < 0.05). Limitations: The cross-sectional design did not allow determination of the time course and causal relationship between chronic fatigue and associated factors. Conclusions: Our data evidenced that chronic fatigue is common in the general population of Hong Kong, and the prevalence increased with age and was higher in the women and lower socioeconomic population. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-256
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


Wong, W. S., & Fielding, R. (2010). Prevalence of chronic fatigue among Chinese adults in Hong Kong: A population-based study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 127(1-3), 248-256.


  • Chronic fatigue
  • Epidemiology
  • Chinese
  • Adult
  • Population-based study


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