Causes and Solutions of the Childhood Obesity Problem in Hong Kong

In recent years, the number of Hong Kong childhood overweight cases has increased at an alarming rate. According to World Health Organization (2014),’Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health’. It is time to investigate this peculiar social problem and work out some solutions; otherwise, the dismal trend of obesity will rise rapidly. In order to solve the problem, providing meals with higher nutritional standards, encouraging students to play different sports and developing health education should be implemented.

Childhood obesity laps in Hong Kong. According to the research by the Centre for Health Protection, one in five students in Hong Kong is considered obese (‘Childhood Obesity Still’2012). Also, the overall overweight detection rate among children was 17.6% in 2016, which was significantly higher than the rate 15 years ago by 36% (Centre for Health Protection, 2017). This problem can be examined from several perspectives. To commence with, some cases are due to students’ fixation about technological gadgets and the lack of physical exertion.

Most Hong Kong students, if not all, need to study day and night. With the general slowdown in physical activity, they put on weight easily. Furthermore, the dietary habit of children causes obesity.

Bubble tea and processed food, which satisfies the palate of teenagers, are laden with sugar and empty calories (Mooney, 2017). Drinking soft drinks and eating fried food every day can make one obesity. Chinese culture once has held the belief that a healthy and delightful child is a chubby one. Indeed, there are several negative consequences if the problem is unsolved.

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To begin, obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases, like stroke and heart disease (NIDDK,2015). Besides, the rounder body shape may lower the self-esteem of children. Other kids may tease them. Worse still, citizen suffers from lifestyle diseases at a younger age, putting a strain on public health care (Increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases,2011).

So acute is the problem of childhood obesity that severely damages students’ personal growth and health. For the sake of future generations, something must be done to eradicate the problem.

First, it should be noted that school lunch suppliers provide meals with higher nutritional standards. Nowadays, many students are served with school lunch provided by the school cafeteria. The sodium content in most of the examined lunches exceeds the recommended meal intake. In fact, consuming too much sodium is one of the underlying culprits of students getting fat (‘School meals cut’ 2017). As a result, the onus is on the suppliers to cut down the sodium levels of school lunch with the use of less seasoning or modification of recipes (Department of Health, 2017). They are suggested not to provide processed food anymore such as ham and sausage. By reducing the intake of salt, students can eat healthily (‘Nutritional Guidelines’2017). The modified one can provide rich nutrient and dietary fiber, which helps children to lead a balanced diet (Benitez, 2018). However, the lunch suppliers may hold the opinion that finicky eaters who refrain from eating vegetables may throw away the meal boxes without eating healthy food at all dislike (Tania, 2005). Yet, what they do not realize is that the school can teach children the concept of ‘food wise’. The supervision of teachers makes sure all students eat healthily. In light of this, children can consume nutrition in moderation.

In addition to the above point, it is evident the school should provide more opportunities for teenagers to play different sports (Fairclough,2015). In Hong Kong, students’ schedule is packed with tutorial lessons and they do not have time to work out. Without doing enough exercise, teens have a weak constitution and are prone to obesity (Obesity in Children, 2018). Physical Education lessons, which all students to do exercise per week, therefore play a crucial role. In Japan, the government has set guidelines for physical activity include about sixty minutes per day for healthy youngsters (‘Follow the example’,2017). Hong Kong schools can follow this example and reserve two to three lessons per cycle for students to do moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activities. This can help students to develop a more active lifestyle. What’s more, regular exercises play an important role in general health and can help them keep their weight down (Frey, 2017). Some educators believe that playing sports would reduce students’ study time (Bossenmeyer, 2012). However, they can look at this matter from another perspective. Engaging in physical activity on a regular basis, children’s immune systems will be boosted, and their academic pressure will be alleviated. To conclude, playing sport is a critical part of a weight-loss program.

The most notable solution is that comprehensive health education should be developed in both primary and secondary schools. It is common that some youngsters have misconceptions about food nutrients and sports (Florida Department of Education,2016). For example, they do not know how to read the nutrition table and choose the healthiest food. In the health education workshop, some professionals, such as nutritionist and dieticians, are invited to teach students how to compare the nutrition information on different pre-packaged food products (Chan, 2018). Students can gain hands-on experience on how to select wisely by reading nutrition labels (Cauffman, 1962). Besides, they will be able to resist temptation and forgo junk food. In the long term, students can adopt a balanced diet as well. Compared with the other two suggested solutions, organizing health education courses requires more money and take a longer time to show effects (Gillbert, 2011). Naysayers may argue there is already sufficient health education in primary school.

Therefore, it is unnecessary to introduce similar classes in secondary schools (Dawes, 2014). This claim may seem reasonable at first glance. However, on closer examination, there are flaws in it. Had the health education back in primary schools been effective in the first place, there would not have been an increasing number of childhood obesity cases. Health education is a lesson that continues through one’s life. It is crucial to strengthen such knowledge during adolescence. As a result, students can debunk the many food myths after attending the talk.

It is clear that the childhood obesity problem needs to warrant immediate action; otherwise, more and more citizens will suffer from lifestyle diseases at a younger age, which will undoubtedly affect Hong Kong’s healthcare services. Providing school meals with higher nutritional standards, allowing students to play different sports, and conducting health education courses are three effective measures to help the future generation. With the cooperation of the school lunch suppliers, the schools and the government, it is hoped that this problem can be tackled soon.

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Causes and Solutions of the Childhood Obesity Problem in Hong Kong. (2022, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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