Aims. To describe and compare the lifestyle behaviours and psychosocial well-being of Chinese adolescents aged 10–19 in the two cities of Hong Kong and Guangzhou and to identify the factors that most influence adolescents’ lifestyle patterns in these two cities.
Background. Health-promoting lifestyle behaviours of adolescents are influenced by economic growth and societal changes.
Design. A cross-sectional comparative survey.
Methods. The Chinese version of the Adolescent Lifestyle Questionnaire was used to measure the adolescents’ lifestyle behaviours and psychosocial well-being in the primary and secondary schools.
Results. A total of 2014 adolescents aged 10–19 responded to the survey in Hong Kong (n = 1008) and Guangzhou (n = 1006). Adolescents in Guangzhou practised healthier lifestyle behaviours and psychosocial well-being than adolescents in Hong Kong, with statistically significant differences in all the seven dimensions. Adolescents in Guangzhou, when compared with those in Hong Kong, obtained higher mean scores in ‘physical participation’ (9·6 vs. 8·9, p < 0·001), ‘nutrition’ (20·2 vs. 17·6, p < 0·001), ‘social support’ (19·6 vs. 18·9, p = 0·001), ‘stress management’ (9·6 vs. 9·3, p = 0·022), ‘identity awareness’ (25·7 vs. 23·5, p < 0·001), ‘health practices awareness’ (9·2 vs. 8·3, p < 0·001) and ‘safety’ (21·6 vs. 20·6, p < 0·001). Demographic factors that contributed to adolescents’ lifestyle behaviours were living in Guangzhou (OR = 1·92, 95% CI 1·56, 2·44), being in the younger age group (10–14 years old) (OR = 2·44, 95% CI 2·00, 3·03) and living with both parents (OR = 1·92, 95% CI 1·12, 3·27).
Conclusions. Socio-economic disparities, family composition and age group are the key factors associated with adolescents’ healthy lifestyle behaviours. Further research is needed to understand the complex causal pathways between ethnicity, social environment and health behaviours.
Relevance to clinical practice. Parental lifestyles inevitably influence the lifestyles of their young. Therefore, nurses should emphasise the health education of both parents and youth as future parents and support parents in modelling health-promoting lifestyles.