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Keywords:

  • Physical activity;
  • walking;
  • body mass index;
  • body composition;
  • working adults;
  • Hong Kong

Abstract

Purpose: Overweight and obesity are prevalent public health problems in many developed and developing regions. Despite extensive documentation on the health benefits of physical activities, little is known about the level of physical activity in the Hong Kong Chinese population. Working adults, in particular, deserve primary attention because they account for the largest proportion of Hong Kong society. The purposes of this study were to investigate pedometer-determined physical activity and examine the associations between physical activity and body composition variables among Chinese working adults in Hong Kong.

Design: This study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional design.

Methods: A quota sample of 913 working adults from nine major occupational categories was recruited. Demographic characteristics and body composition parameters (weight, height, and waist and hip circumferences) were assessed. Body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio were then calculated. Physical activity was measured in terms of daily walking steps using a pedometer over 1 week. Participants were then categorized as “inactive,”“somewhat active,” or “regularly active.” Descriptive and inferential statistics (analysis of variance, t test, and χ2 test) were used appropriately.

Findings: Of the 913 participants, 893 returned complete step count records. The completion rate was 97.8%. Participants on average walked 8,661 steps per day, suggesting a “somewhat active” populace. Significant differences were found between the group “regularly active” and “inactive” in most of the body composition parameters. However, a significant weak correlation was found between physical activity and body mass index (r= 0.12, p= .001). Such findings deserve further investigation.

Conclusions: The Chinese working adults in Hong Kong were found to be somewhat active in physical activity.

Clinical Relevance: Findings pose implications for healthcare professionals who are responsible for health promotion in the Asian community setting. Leisure-type physical activity, such as walking, can be incorporated into daily routines.