Hong Kong students are far less fit than their peers on the mainland and around the world, with more than a quarter of them overweight or obese, according to a study.
During the last academic year the University of Hong Kong studied 100,000 students aged six to 19 at 173 schools in the city. They found that 18 per cent were overweight and a further 9 per cent were obese, based on World Health Organisation's body mass index standards. Researchers believe schools' and parents' focus on academic performance had made them ignore exercise. They hoped a fitness promotion campaign could help improve the situation.
"It is particularly notable that the physical fitness gap between children [in Hong Kong] and those from other parts of the world widened with age," researchers said.
Wong Shun-ki, principal of Christian Alliance S. C. Chan Memorial College, said pupils at the school had two physical education classes a week. He added that they were encouraged to join after-school activities.
"I really want to let them exercise more, but it's difficult in Hong Kong's environment," Wong said.