Measures to promote exercise and health

     A survey has revealed that in recent years, members of the public generally lack exercise and their problem of overweight or obesity is worsening. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) conducted, in the past three years, analysis on the utilisation (e.g. frequency of use and duration) of the fitness rooms and other recreation and sports facilities under its management by members of the public of various ages; if so, set out the outcome of the analysis by age groups (each group covering five years); if not, of the reasons for that;

(2) apart from the existing Fitness Room Monthly Ticket Scheme, whether LCSD will consider launching other concession or incentive schemes to encourage members of the public to use the fitness rooms under its management more frequently; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) whether it formulated measures in the past three years to encourage members of the public of various ages to develop a habit of exercising regularly; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(4) whether it will implement a universal health assessment programme, including blood tests on blood glucose, blood lipids, etc, to let members of the public understand their own health conditions and enhance their health awareness; and

(5) whether it conducted promotional activities in the past three years to let members of the public understand the health risks posed by overweight or obesity; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?


     Having consulted the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), my reply to the five parts of question is as follows:
(1) and (2) The Government has all along been committed to promoting sports in the community so as to achieve the policy objective of “Sport for All”. To encourage the public to do more physical exercises and lead a healthy lifestyle, LCSD provides a wide range of sports and recreational programmes and facilities for people of different ages and physical ability. LCSD closely monitors the usage of various facilities, which forms the basis for improvements to services. According to the statistics of LCSD in 2016, the overall average usage rate of the 75 fitness rooms under its management was 51 per cent and the attendance stood at 5.1 million, 16 per cent above that in 2015. 

     LCSD introduced the Fitness Room Monthly Ticket Scheme in 2001. Holders of fitness room monthly tickets are entitled to unlimited use of the facilities during the opening hours of fitness rooms. At present, peak and non-peak fees for using fitness room per person hour are $14 and $13 respectively, and $180 for monthly tickets. Full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above as well as persons with disabilities and one minder each enjoy half-rate concession (including monthly tickets). The Scheme has been well received by the public since its launch and 220 000 tickets were sold in 2016, 15 per cent more than that in 2015. Since holders of fitness room monthly tickets are entitled to unlimited use of the facilities, under the limitation of the existing Leisure Link system LCSD is unable to analyse the frequency and amount of time individual members of public use the fitness rooms, or any other sports and recreational facilities.

     LCSD is planning to develop a new intelligent system to allow more efficient, convenient and user-friendly booking of the sports and recreational facilities (including fitness rooms), thereby facilitating and encouraging the public to exercise regularly. The data analysis function of the planned new system will be enhanced, which will assist LCSD to understand the habits and usage pattern of the community in a more comprehensive way. LCSD will seek funding from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for the development of the information system in the current legislative year. In addition, we will also take forward the Five-Year Plan for Sports and Recreation Facilities to implement 26 projects within five years to increase district sports and recreational facilities for the use of the public, schools and sports organisations.
(3) To promote “Sport for All” and encourage the public to exercise regularly, LCSD organises a wide range of recreational and sports programmes every year. In 2016-17, around 38 000 recreational and sports activities were organised for a total of around 2.2 million participants. These programmes include district-based sports training courses, competitions and recreational activities for people of different ages and physical ability, including parent-child programmes on park orienteering, badminton, social dance and ultimate, etc; programmes targeting at young people such as long-distance run, cycling and water sports activities, etc; and relatively less physically demanding activities such as fitness walking, gateball, lawn bowls, hydro-fitness, physical relaxation and stretching, etc. Major events and territory-wide projects are also organised, including the Hong Kong Games, Sport For All Day and the Healthy Exercise for All Campaign. LCSD will continue to actively promote to the public various recreational and sports activities and encourage them to do more physical exercises.

(4) FHB advised that the Hong Kong Reference Frameworks for the care of major chronic diseases and different population groups in primary care settings have been developed to provide common reference to healthcare professionals to facilitate the provision of continuing, comprehensive and evidence-based care in the community. In particular, it is hoped that the Reference Frameworks would support primary care doctors in their daily patient care. Recommendations in the Reference Frameworks regarding screening of hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidaemia in primary care settings are as follows:

(i) Screening for hypertension is recommended for individuals starting from age 18 years should be conducted at least once every two years and annual screening is recommended for older adults of age 65 years and above.

(ii) Periodic screening of diabetes is recommended for individuals starting from age 45 years. If the results are normal, screening should be conducted again every three years. Persons of any age who have other risk factors of diabetes, such as overweight, obesity, family history of diabetes etc. should have more frequent screening (e.g. yearly).

(iii) Periodic screening of hyperlipidaemia is recommended for individuals of age 50 to 75 years. If the results are within optimal range, screening should be conducted again every three years. Persons with risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, hypertension etc. should have more frequent screening (e.g. yearly).

     The Primary Care Office of the Department of Health (DH) will continue to promulgate the Reference Frameworks to primary care doctors and encourage their adoption of the recommendations in their daily patient care.

     In addition, the Steering Committee on Primary Healthcare Development has been established by FHB to develop a blueprint for the sustainable development of primary healthcare services for Hong Kong. The Committee will comprehensively review the existing planning of primary healthcare services and devise service models to provide primary healthcare services via district-based medical-social collaboration in the community.

(5) For the promotion of healthy lifestyle, such as healthy eating and regular physical activity, the DH has been adopting a life-course and setting-based approach and paid emphasis on alliance building, creating a conducive environment, education and support, publicity and advocacy, as well as research and evaluation. The programmes implemented by DH include:

(i) the Campaign was launched in January 2012 to promote healthy eating and physical activity among preschoolers across the territory to prevent childhood obesity through a pre-primary institution-based setting approach. For the school year of 2017/18, over 570 kindergartens and child care centres participated in the Campaign;

(ii) the Campaign was launched in the school year 2006/07 to make the primary school environment more favourable and sustainable for the practice of healthy eating, bringing real improvements to school lunch and snacks. As of October 2017, over 260 primary schools have enrolled in the EatSmart School Accreditation Scheme and over 120 schools have achieved various levels of accreditation; and

(iii) the Campaign was launched in April 2008 to encourage and assist restaurants to provide dishes with more fruit and vegetables and less oil, salt and sugar, so as to allow more healthier food choices for the general public when eating out. As at October 2017, there are over 660 EatSmart restaurants.

     Regarding working population, the Joyful@Healthy Workplace programme, jointly organised by the DH and the Occupational Safety and Health Council, also commenced in August 2016. “Healthy eating” and “Physical activity” are two action areas of the programme. As at October 2017, the programme has drawn about 700 participating organisations benefiting more than 260 000 employees.  

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