Secular changes in height, weight and body mass index in Hong Kong Children

Hung Kwan So, Edmund A.S. Nelson, Albert M. Li, Eric M.C. Wong, Joseph T.F. Lau, Georgia S. Guldan, Kwok Hang Mak, Youfa Wang, Tai Fai Fok, Rita Y.T. Sung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Background. Large population growth surveys of children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 y were undertaken in Hong Kong in 1963 and 1993. The global epidemic of obesity is a major public health concern. To monitor the impact of this epidemic in Hong Kong children and to identify secular changes in growth, a further growth survey was undertaken in 2005/6. Methods. Cross-sectional height and weight measurements of 14,842 children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 y from Hong Kong's 18 districts were obtained during the 2005/6 school year. Percentile curves were constructed using LMS method and sex-specific percentile values of weight-for-age, height-for-age, and BMI-for-age were compared with those data from 1963 and 1993. Results. Secular changes in height, weight and BMI were noted between 1963 and 1993 and between 1993 and 2005/6. In the latter period, greater changes were observed at younger ages, and particularly in boys. On an annual basis, the 1993-2005/6 changes were less than those during 1963-1993. Using the International Obesity Task Force cut-offs, 16.7% of children were overweight or obese in 2005/6, which was a 5.1% increase since 1993. Conclusion. These data provide policy-makers with further evidence of the secular changes in child growth and the increasing obesity epidemic among Hong Kong children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number320
JournalBMC public health
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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