Although the harms of smoking are well established, it is unclear how they extend into old age in the Chinese.
To examine the relationship of smoking with all‐cause and major cause‐specific mortality in elderly Chinese men and women, respectively, in Hong Kong.
Mortality by smoking status was examined in a prospective cohort study of 56 167 (18 749 men, 37 416 women) Chinese aged ⩾65 years enrolled from 1998 to 2000 at all the 18 elderly health centres of the Hong Kong Government Department of Health.
After a mean follow‐up of 4.1 years, 1848 male and 2035 female deaths occured among 54 214 subjects (96.5% successful follow‐up). At baseline, more men than women were current smokers (20.3% vs 4.0%) and former smokers (40.8% vs 7.9%). The adjusted RRs (95% CI) for all‐cause mortality in former and current smokers, compared with never smokers, were 1.39 (1.23 to 1.56) and 1.75 (1.53 to 2.00) in men and 1.43 (1.25 to 1.64) and 1.38 (1.14 to 1.68) in women, respectively. For current smokers, the RRs (95% CI) for all‐cause mortality were 1.59 (1.39 to 1.82), 1.72 (1.48 to 2.00) and 1.84 (1.43 to 2.35) for daily consumption of 1–9, 10–20 and >21 cigarettes, respectively (p for trend <0.001). RRs (95% CI) were 1.49 (1.30 to 1.72) and 2.20 (1.88 to 2.57) in former and current smokers for all deaths from cancer, and 1.24 (1.04 to 1.47) and 1.57 (1.28 to 1.94) for all cardiovascular deaths, respectively. Quitters had significantly lower risks of death than current smokers from all causes, lung cancer, all cancers, stroke and all cardiovascular diseases.
In old age, smoking continues to be a major cause of death, and quitting is beneficial. Smoking cessation is urgently needed in rapidly ageing populations in the East.
This study examined if 2-week free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) would be more effective than 1-week free NRT to help smokers quit smoking at 6 and 12 months. In a single-blinded randomized controlled trial design, 562 Chinese smokers who attended a smoking cessation clinic in Hong Kong, China, were randomly allocated into two groups (A1 and A2): A1 (n = 284) received behavioural counselling with free NRT for 1 week; A2 (n = 278) received similar counselling with free NRT for 2 weeks. All subjects received printed self-help materials to support their quitting efforts. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection, including pattern of NRT use and self-reported 7-day point prevalence quit rate at 6 months and 12 months. Among the participants, the mean number of cigarettes smoked per day was 18.8 (SD = 10.9). By intention-to-treat analysis, 7-day point prevalence quit rates were not significantly different between A1 and A2 groups at 6-month (27.5% versus 27.3%; P = 0.97) and 12-month (21.1% versus 21.2%; P = 0.98) followup. The findings suggest that two-week free NRT was not more effective than 1-week free NRT to increase smoking cessation rate among Chinese smokers.
Adrenomedullin (ADM) and adiponectin are both involved in inflammation and cardiovascular diseases. The plasma levels of these peptides are influenced by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ADM and ADIPOQ genes respectively. There is some evidence that ADM may regulate adiponectin gene expression, but whether adiponectin can regulate ADM expression is unclear, and was therefore investigated.
Plasma ADM level was measured in 476 subjects in the Hong Kong Cardiovascular Risk Factor Prevalence Study-2 (CRISPS2). We genotyped them for 2 ADIPOQ SNPs that are known to be associated with plasma adiponectin level.
The minor allele frequencies of ADIPOQ SNPs rs182052 and rs12495941 were 40.6% and 42.2% respectively. Plasma ADM level was significantly associated with rs182052 after adjusting for age and sex (β = 0.104, P = 0.023) but not with rs12495941 (β = 0.071, P = 0.120). In multivariate analysis, plasma ADM level increased with the number of minor alleles of rs182052 (P = 0.013). Compared to subjects with GG genotype, subjects with AA genotype had 17.7% higher plasma ADM level (95% CI: 3.6%–33.7%). Subgroup analysis revealed that the association was significant in diabetic patients (β = 0.344, P = 0.001) but not in non-diabetic subjects.
Plasma ADM level is related to SNP rs182052 in the ADIPOQ gene. Our findings provide new evidence of the interplay between these two important peptides in cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Knowing the genotype may help to refine the interpretation of these biomarkers.
Little is known about sex knowledge, attitudes, and high-risk sexual behaviors among unmarried youth in Hong Kong. It is of public health importance to investigate this topic to inform sex education, policymaking, and prevention and intervention programs.
Based on the Youth Sexuality Survey conducted by Hong Kong Family Planning Association (FPAHK) in 2011, this study explored the characteristics of sexual knowledge, attitudes, and high-risk sexual behaviors among 1,126 unmarried youth aged 18 to 27 years. Multiple logistic regressions were performed to examine factors associated with unmarried youth’s premarital sex, casual relationships, multiple sex partners, and premarital pregnancy.
Unmarried youth in Hong Kong had adequate sex knowledge, but contraceptive knowledge was deficient. The majority of unmarried youth (63.8%) held liberal attitudes toward premarital sex and about half held liberal attitudes toward any form of sexual activity and premarital pregnancy. Around 60% held conservative attitudes toward causal sex relationships and multiple sex partners. Males tended to hold more liberal attitudes toward high-risk sex behaviors than female youth. Approximately 41.5% of unmarried youth reported having engaged in premarital sex, whereas less than 10% engaged in high-risk sexual behaviors. Males also reported higher amounts of premarital sex, casual sex relationships, and multiple sex partners. Females reported higher levels of sexual coercion. Logistic regressions indicated that being older, coming from a divorced family, out of school status and liberal attitudes toward risky sex behavior were more likely to engage in premarital sex or high-risk sex behaviors, and being female, being better educated and being immigrants were less likely to engage in premarital sex. However, being immigrants was more likely to engage in casual relationship and to have multiple partners.
Premarital sex is becoming more prevalent among unmarried youth in Hong Kong, and a small proportion of young adults are engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors. Sex education and HIV prevention programs should equip them with adequate knowledge on contraception and condom use. Intervention programs can start with their attitudes toward sex.
Observational studies show moderate alcohol use negatively associated with ischemic heart disease (IHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, healthier attributes among moderate users compared to never users may confound the apparent association. A potentially less biased way to examine the association is Mendelian randomization, using alcohol metabolizing genes which influence alcohol use.
We used instrumental variable analysis with aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) genotypes (AA/GA/GG) as instrumental variables for alcohol use to examine the association of alcohol use (10 g ethanol/day) with CVD risk factors (blood pressure, lipids and glucose) and morbidity (self-reported IHD and CVD) among men in the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study.
ALDH2 genotypes were a credible instrument for alcohol use (F-statistic 74.6). Alcohol was positively associated with HDL-cholesterol (0.05 mmol/L per alcohol unit, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02 to 0.08) and diastolic blood pressure (1.15 mmHg, 95% CI 0.23 to 2.07) but not with systolic blood pressure (1.00 mmHg, 95% CI -0.74 to 2.74), LDL-cholesterol (0.03 mmol/L, 95% CI -0.03 to 0.08), log transformed triglycerides (0.03 mmol/L, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.08) or log transformed fasting glucose (0.01 mmol/L, 95% CI -0.006 to 0.03), self-reported CVD (odds ratio (OR) 0.98, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.27) or self-reported IHD (OR 1.10, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.45).
Low to moderate alcohol use among men had the expected effects on most CVD risk factors but not fasting glucose. Larger studies are needed to confirm the null associations with IHD, CVD and fasting glucose.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an integral element of how the alcohol industry promotes itself. The existing analyses of CSR in the alcohol industry point to the misleading nature of these CSR practices. Yet, research has been relatively sparse on how the alcohol industry advances CSR in an attempt to facilitate underlying business interests, and in what ways the ongoing display of industry CSR impacts public health. This paper aims to investigate the alcohol industry’s recent CSR engagements and explain how CSR forms part of the industry’s wider political and corporate strategies.
Our study used qualitative methods to collect and analyse data. We searched for materials pertaining to CSR activities from websites of three transnational alcohol corporations, social media platforms, media reports and other sources. Relevant documents were thematically analysed with an iterative approach.
Our analysis identified three CSR tactics employed by the alcohol companies which are closely tied in with the industry’s underlying corporate intents. First, the alcohol manufacturers employ CSR as a means to frame issues, define problems and guide policy debates. In doing this, the alcohol companies are able to deflect and shift the blame from those who manufacture and promote alcoholic products to those who consume them. Second, the alcohol corporations promote CSR initiatives on voluntary regulation in order to delay and offset alcohol control legislation. Third, the alcohol corporations undertake philanthropic sponsorships as a means of indirect brand marketing as well as gaining preferential access to emerging alcohol markets.
The increasing penetration and involvement of the alcohol industry into CSR highlights the urgent needs for public health counter actions. Implementation of any alcohol control measures should include banning or restricting the publicity efforts of the industry’s CSR and informing the public of the alcohol industry’s notion of social responsibility. More significantly, an internationally binding instrument should be called for to enable countries to differentiate between genuine concerns and spurious altruism, and in doing so, resist the industry’s attempt to erode alcohol control.
Alcohol industry; Corporate social responsibility; Politics; Alcohol policies; Framework convention
To investigate the association of underage alcohol drinking with medical consultation and hospitalisation in Hong Kong.
Secondary schools in Hong Kong.
A total of 33 300 secondary 1 (US grade 7) to secondary 5 students (47.6% boys; mean age 14.6 years, SD 1.6) in 85 randomly selected schools.
An anonymous questionnaire was used to obtain information about medical consultation in the past 14 days, hospitalisation in the past 12 months, drinking alcohol, smoking, illicit drug use, physical activity, secondhand smoke exposure, feeling depressed, feeling anxious and sociodemographic characteristics. Drinking alcohol was categorised as non-drinking (reference), <1, 1–2 and 3–7 days/week. Logistic regression yielded adjusted ORs (AORs) of medical consultation and hospitalisation for drinking, adjusting for different potential confounders. Subgroup analysis was conducted among adolescents who did not report feeling anxious or depressed.
More than one-fourth (27.6%) of adolescents drank alcohol, 15.9% had medical consultation and 5.1% had been hospitalised. In the fully adjusted model, the AORs (95% CI) for medical consultation were 1.14 (1.06 to 1.23) for <1 day/week, 1.30 (1.13 to 1.50) for 1–2 days/week and 1.70 (1.41 to 2.06) for 3–7 days/week of drinking compared with non-drinking (p for trend <0.001). The corresponding AORs (95% CI) for hospitalisation were 1.14 (1.02 to 1.28), 1.68 (1.32 to 2.14) and 2.38 (1.90 to 2.98) (p for trend <0.001). Similar associations were observed among students who did not feel anxious or depressed.
Alcohol consumption was associated with medical services use in Chinese adolescents. More rigorous alcohol control policies and health promotion programmes are needed to reduce alcohol drinking and related harms in adolescents.
Public Health; Epidemiology
To investigate the associations of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure with medical consultation and hospitalisation among adolescents in Hong Kong.
A total of 35827 secondary 1 (US grade 7) to secondary 5 students from 85 randomly selected schools completed an anonymous questionnaire on smoking, SHS at home, SHS outside home, medical consultation in the past 14 days, hospitalisation in the past 12 months, and socio-demographic characteristics. Current smoking was defined as any smoking in the past 30 days. SHS exposure was classified as none (reference), 1–4 and 5–7 days/week. Logistic regression yielded adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for medical consultation and hospitalisation in relation to SHS exposure at home and outside home in current smokers. Analyses were also done among never-smokers for comparison.
Among all students, 15.9% had medical consultation and 5.2% had been hospitalised. Any SHS exposure at home was associated with AORs (95% CI) for medical consultation and hospitalisation of 1.69 (1.14–2.51) and 2.85 (1.47–5.52) in current smokers, and 1.03 (0.91–1.15) and 1.25 (1.02–1.54) in never-smokers, respectively, (P<0.01 for interaction between smoking status and SHS exposure at home). SHS exposure outside home was generally not associated with medical consultation and hospitalisation in smokers and never-smokers.
SHS exposure at home was associated with health services use among adolescent current smokers. Adolescent smokers should be aware of the harm of SHS in addition to that from their own smoking. The evidence helps health care professionals to advise adolescent smokers to avoid SHS exposure and stop smoking.
Second-hand smoke is a severe health hazard for children. Clinical guidelines suggest that nurses advise smoking parents to quit when they accompany their sick children to paediatric settings, but the guidelines did not mention what nurses can do if the parents are not with the children. This study examines the effectiveness of a low-intensity, nurse-led health instructional initiative for non-smoking mothers, to motivate them to take action to help their husbands stop smoking.
This was a randomised controlled trial and 1,483 non-smoking women, who were living with husbands who do smoke, were recruited when they accompanied with their sick children on hospital admission in general paediatic wards/outpatient departments of four hospitals in Hong Kong. The women were randomly allocated into intervention and control groups. The former received brief health education counselling from nurses, a purpose-designed health education booklet, a “no smoking” sticker, and a telephone reminder one week later; the control group received usual care. The primary outcome was the women”s action to help their smoking husbands stop smoking at 3-, 6- and 12-month follow-ups.
A higher proportion of women in the intervention than the control group had taken action to help their husbands stop smoking at the 3-month (76% vs. 65%, P < .001), 6-month (66% vs. 49%, P < .001) and 12-month (52% vs. 40%, P < .001) follow-ups. Women who had received the intervention, had better knowledge of the health hazards of smoking, higher intention to take action, perceived their husbands’ willingness to stop/reduce smoking, had previously advised their husbands to give up smoking, were aware of their husbands’ history of smoking and, were aware that their husbands had made an earlier quit attempt and intended to help them stop smoking at the follow-ups.
A brief health education intervention by nurses in paediatric settings can be effective in motivating the mothers of sick children to take action to help their husbands quit smoking. We recommend adding the following to the clinical practice guidelines on treating tobacco use and dependence: ‘Nurses should offer every non-smoking mother of a sick child brief advice to encourage their husbands to stop smoking’.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN72290421.
Mothers of sick children; Nurse-led education; Paediatric settings; Randomised controlled trial; Smoking husband
To examine the effect of depressive symptoms and satisfaction with family support (FS) on physical and mental Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL).
Data were obtained from the Hong Kong FAMILY Project baseline survey in 2009–2011, which included 16,039 community residents (age ≥20). The FS was measured using the Family Adaptation, Partnership, Growth, Affection, Resolve (APGAR, range 0–10) Questionnaire. HRQoL were assessed using the SF-12 version 2. Depressive symptoms were recorded using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Demographic and lifestyle variables, stressful life events, perceived neighborhood cohesion were also assessed.
In a multilevel regression model, socio-demographic and behavioral variables explained 21% and 19% of the variance in physical and mental HRQoL. The presence of depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 score ≥10, standardized coefficients, β of −1.73) and high FS (APGAR score 7–10, 1.15) were associated with mental HRQoL, after adjustment for age, education, household monthly income, drinking status, physical activity, chronic conditions, life stress and neighborhood cohesion. Not FS but the presence of depressive symptoms (β of −0.88) was associated with physical HRQoL. The presence of depressive symptoms in women than men were more associated with a poorer physical HRQoL (p<0.01) while depressive symptoms in men were associated with a decrease in mental HRQoL (p<0.001). The interaction between FS and depressive symptoms was nonsignificant in relation to HRQoL. Among those with depressive symptoms, high FS was associated with a better mental HRQoL (41.1 vs. 37.9, p<0.001) in women but not contribute to variance in men.
Higher FS and presence of depressive symptoms were significantly associated with HRQoL in general population in Hong Kong. Among those with depressive symptoms, high FS was associated with a favorable mental HRQoL in women but not men.
Obesity is closely associated with various cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Adipose tissue inflammation and perturbation of adipokine secretion may contribute to the pathogenesis of CVD. This study aimed to evaluate whether the 2 most abundant adipokines, adipocyte‐fatty acid binding protein (A‐FABP) and adiponectin, are independent risk factors predisposing to CVD.
Method and Results
We investigated prospectively the 12‐year development of CVD in relation to the baseline levels of A‐FABP and adiponectin in a population‐based community cohort comprising 1847 Chinese subjects recruited from the Hong Kong Cardiovascular Risk Factors Prevalence Study 2 (CRISPS 2) cohort without previous CVD. Baseline serum levels of A‐FABP, adiponectin, and C‐reactive protein (CRP), an established biomarker predictive of CVD, were measured. In all, 182 (9.9%) of the 1847 Chinese subjects developed CVD during a median follow‐up of 9.4 years. The CVD group had more traditional risk factors, higher baseline levels of A‐FABP and CRP (both P<0.001), but similar adiponectin levels (P=0.881) compared with the non‐CVD group. In Cox regression analysis including both biomarkers, the adjusted HR for A‐FABP and CRP for subjects above the optimal cutoff values were 1.57 (95% CI, 1.14 to 2.16; P=0.006) and 1.60 (95% CI, 1.12 to 2.27; P=0.01), respectively, after adjustment for traditional risk factors. The category‐free net reclassification index, but not the c‐statistic, showed improvement in predictive performance by the addition of A‐FABP to the traditional risk factor model (P=0.017).
Circulating A‐FABP level predicts the development of CVD after adjustment for traditional risk factors in a community‐based cohort. Its clinical use for CVD prediction warrants further validation.
adipocyte‐fatty acid binding protein; adipokines; adiponectin; cardiovascular diseases; inflammation
This paper describes efforts to generate evidence for community-developed programs to enhance family relationships in the Chinese culture of Hong Kong, within the framework of community-based participatory research (CBPR).
The CBPR framework was applied to help maximize the development of the intervention and the public health impact of the studies, while enhancing the capabilities of the social service sector partners.
Four academic-community research teams explored the process of designing and implementing randomized controlled trials in the community. In addition to the expected cultural barriers between teams of academics and community practitioners, with their different outlooks, concerns and languages, the team navigated issues in utilizing the principles of CBPR unique to this Chinese culture. Eventually the team developed tools for adaptation, such as an emphasis on building the relationship while respecting role delineation and an iterative process of defining the non-negotiable parameters of research design while maintaining scientific rigor. Lessons learned include the risk of underemphasizing the size of the operational and skills shift between usual agency practices and research studies, the importance of minimizing non-negotiable parameters in implementing rigorous research designs in the community, and the need to view community capacity enhancement as a long term process.
The four pilot studies under the FAMILY Project demonstrated that nuanced design adaptations, such as wait list controls and shorter assessments, better served the needs of the community and led to the successful development and vigorous evaluation of a series of preventive, family-oriented interventions in the Chinese culture of Hong Kong.
Community interventions; Chinese; Parenting; Community-based participatory research; Randomized controlled trials
To compare the performance of Stunkard’s current body size (CBS) with self-reported body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and waist to stature ratio (WSR) in predicting weight status in Chinese adolescents, and to determine the CBS cutoffs for overweight/obesity and underweight.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in a sample of 5,418 secondary school students (45.2% boys; mean age 14.7 years). Height and weight were measured by trained teachers or researchers. Subjects were classified as underweight, normal weight, or overweight/obese according to the International Obesity Task Force cutoffs. Subjects were asked to select the figure that best resembled their CBS on the Stunkard’s figure rating scale. Self-reported height, weight, WC and WSR were also obtained. The performance of CBS, self-reported BMI, WC and WSR as a weight status indicator was analysed by sex-specific receiver operating characteristic curves. The optimal CBS cutoffs for underweight and overweight/obesity were determined based on the Youden Index.
Apart from self-reported BMI, CBS had the greatest area under curve (AUC) for underweight in boys (0.82) and girls (0.81). For overweight/obesity, CBS also had a greater AUC (0.85) than self-reported WC and WSR in boys, and an AUC (0.81) comparable to self-reported WC and WSR in girls. In general, CBS values of 3 and 5 appeared to be the optimal cutoffs for underweight and overweight/obesity, respectively, in different sex-age subgroups.
CBS is a potentially useful indicator to assess weight status of adolescents when measured and self-reported BMI are not available.
Depression is predicted to become one of the two most burdensome diseases worldwide by 2020 and is common in people with chronic physical conditions. However, depression is relatively uncommon in Asia. Family support is an important Asian cultural value that we hypothesized could protect people with chronic physical conditions from developing depression. We investigated depressive symptom prevalence and risk factors in a Chinese sample with chronic medical conditions, focusing on the possible protective role of family relationships.
Data were obtained from the Hong Kong Jockey Club FAMILY Project cohort study in 2009–2011, which included 6,195 participants (age ≥15) with self-reported chronic conditions. Depressive symptoms were recorded using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Demographic and lifestyle variables, stressful life events, perceived family support and neighborhood cohesion were assessed. Factors associated with a non-somatic (PHQ-6) depression score were also examined.
The prevalence of depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥5) was 17% in those with one or more chronic conditions, and was more prevalent in women than in men (19.7% vs. 13.9%; p < 0.001). In multilevel analyses, life stress, number of chronic conditions and satisfaction with family support explained 43% of the variance in PHQ-9 scores (standardized regression coefficients of 0.46, 0.15, and −0.12 respectively, all p <0.001). Body mass index, problem alcohol drinking, physical activity, and unmarried status were significantly associated with PHQ-9 scores, although these associations were weak. Variables associated with depression explained 35% of the variance in non-somatic (PHQ-6) depression scores. Satisfaction with family support played a stronger protective role against depressive symptoms (both PHQ-9 and PHQ-6 scores) among women than men (p < 0.05).
Acute life stress and the number of chronic conditions, together with socio-demographic factors, explain most variance in depressive symptoms among chronically ill Chinese individuals. Somatic items in the PHQ-9 increased the depression scores but they did not alter the pattern of predictors. Family support appears to be an important protective factor in Chinese cultures for individuals with chronic conditions.
Depressive symptoms; Chronic conditions; Family functioning; Chinese; PHQ-9; Community; Populations
To examine the association between total sleep duration and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) in older Chinese.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study (GBCS) was performed. Participants (n = 29,333) were aged ≥50 years. Risk of MetSyn and its components were identified for self-reported total sleep duration.
Participants reporting long (≥9 h) and short (<6 h) total sleep duration had increased odds ratio (OR) of 1.18 (95% CI 1.07–1.30) and 1.14 (1.05–1.24) for the presence of MetSyn, respectively. The relationship remained in long sleepers (OR 1.21 [1.10–1.34]) but diminished in short sleepers (0.97 [0.88–1.06]) after full adjustment.
Long sleep duration was associated with greater risk of MetSyn in older Chinese. Confirmation through longitudinal studies is needed. The mechanisms mediating the link between long sleep duration and MetSyn require further investigation.
Whereas taxation on alcohol is becoming an increasingly common practice in many countries as part of overall public health measures, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is bucking the trend and lowered its duties on wine and beer by 50 percent in 2007. In 2008, Hong Kong removed all duties on alcohol except for spirits. The aim of this paper is to examine the case of Hong Kong with its history of changes in alcohol taxation to explore the factors that have driven such an unprecedented policy evolution.
The research is based on an analysis of primary documents. Searches of official government documents, alcohol-related industry materials and other media reports on alcohol taxation for the period from 2000 to 2008 were systematically carried out using key terms such as “alcohol tax” and “alcohol industry”. Relevant documents (97) were indexed by date and topic to undertake a chronological and thematic analysis using Nvivo8 software.
Our analysis demonstrates that whereas the city’s changing financial circumstances and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s strong propensity towards economic liberalism had, in part, contributed to such dramatic transformation, the alcohol industry’s lobbying tactics and influence were clearly the main drivers of the policy decision. The alcohol industry’s lobbying tactics were two-fold. The first was to forge a coalition encompassing a range of catering and trade industries related to alcohol as well as industry-friendly lawmakers so that these like-minded actors could find common ground in pursuing changes to the taxation policy. The second was to deliberately promote a blend of ideas to garner support from the general public and to influence the perception of key policy makers.
Our findings suggest that the success of aggressive industry lobbying coupled with the absence of robust public health advocacy was the main driving force behind the unparalleled abolition of wine and beer duties in Hong Kong. Strong public health alliance and advocacy movement are needed to counteract the industry’s continuing aggressive lobby and promotion of alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol tax; Alcohol industry; Public health policy; Hong Kong; Political tactics
There is a dearth of high-level evidence for brief programs designed to promote positive parent–child relationships in nonwestern cultures. We present a pilot randomized controlled trial of a four-session intervention to enhance the parenting skills that promote a positive relationship with pre-adolescent children in Hong Kong. Our intervention, Harmony@Home, utilized Cunningham’s culturally appropriate coping modeling, problem-solving approach to change parental behavior. Our objective was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and initial evidence of benefit of the intervention. We blindly randomized 150 Hong Kong parents of children 10–13 years of age to (a) a Harmony@Home intervention group, (b) a waitlist control group, or (c) a third active intervention which shared the control group. Immediately following the intervention, we report increases in satisfaction with the parent–child relationship, one of the targeted parenting behaviors and family harmony, for the Harmony@Home group versus control group. However, only the results from satisfaction with the parent–child relationship were significant at 3-months post intervention. Most respondents reported high levels of program satisfaction. The results provide preliminary evidence that this parenting intervention is culturally acceptable for a nonwestern general population, is feasible for implementation in a community setting and shows evidence of benefit. This intervention is concordant with public health priorities because of the global importance of the parent–child relationship as a protective factor for adolescent outcomes, the need for culturally-appropriate interventions for nonwestern populations, and design characteristics that promote dissemination.
Parenting; Parent–child relationships; Nonwestern culture; Family; Prevention
Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) syndrome-specific outcome measures is needed for the evaluation of TCM syndrome-specific therapies. We constructed a Kidney Deficiency Syndrome Questionnaire (KDSQ) for the evaluation of the common TCM syndromes Kidney-Yin Deficiency Syndrome (KDS-Yin) and Kidney-Yang Deficiency Syndrome (KDS-Yang) in middle-aged women with menopausal symptoms.
KDS-Yin and KDS-Yang were traditionally defined by expert opinion were validated by exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM). Content validity was tested by EFA on a sample of 236 women from a seminar and SEM on another sample of 321 women from a postal survey. Other psychometric properties were tested on 292 women from the seminar at baseline and two systematically selected sub-samples: 54 who reported no changes in discomforts 11–12 days after the baseline and 31 who reported changes in discomforts 67–74 days after the baseline. All participants completed the KDSQ, the Greene Climacteric Scale and the standard 12-item Short Form Health Survey.
The EFA and SEM established the measurement models of KDS-Yin and KDS-Yang supporting content validity of the KDSQ. Internal consistency was good (Cronbach’s Alpha >0.70). Construct validity was supported by theoretically-derived levels of correlation with the established external measures. Test–retest reliability was strong (ICCagreement: KDS-Yin, 0.94; KDS-Yang, 0.93). The KDSQ was responsive to changes over time as tested by effect size and longitudinal validity.
The KDSQ was a valid and reliable measure for KDS-Yin and KDS-Yang in Hong Kong Chinese middle-aged women with menopausal symptoms.
This paper describes the development of culturally-appropriate family-based interventions and their relevant measures, to promote family health, happiness and harmony in Hong Kong. Programs were developed in the community, using a collaborative approach with community partners. The development process, challenges, and the lessons learned are described. This experience may be of interest to the scientific community as there is little information currently available about community-based development of brief interventions with local validity in cultures outside the West.
The academic-community collaborative team each brought strengths to the development process and determined the targets for intervention (parent-child relationships). Information from expert advisors and stakeholder discussion groups was collected and utilized to define the sources of stress in parent-child relationships.
Themes emerged from the literature and discussion groups that guided the content of the intervention. Projects emphasized features that were appropriate for this cultural group and promoted potential for sustainability, so that the programs might eventually be implemented at a population-wide level. Challenges included ensuring local direction, relevance and acceptability for the intervention content, engaging participants and enhancing motivation to make behavior changes after a brief program, measurement of behavior changes, and developing an equal partner relationship between academic and community staff.
This work has public health significance because of the global importance of parent-child relationships as a risk-factor for many outcomes in adulthood, the need to develop interventions with strong evidence of effectiveness to populations outside the West, the potential application of our interventions to universal populations, and characteristics of the interventions that promote dissemination, including minimal additional costs for delivery by community agencies, and high acceptability to participants.
Physical activity may modify the association of adiposity with type 2 diabetes. We investigated the independent and joint association of adiposity and physical activity with fasting plasma glucose, impaired fasting glucose, and type 2 diabetes in a Chinese population.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Middle-aged and older Chinese (n = 28,946, ≥50 years, 72.4%women) from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study were examined in 2003–2008. Multivariable regression was used in a cross-sectional analysis.
BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were positively associated with type 2 diabetes after multiple adjustment, most strongly for WHR with odds ratio (OR) of 3.99 (95% CI 3.60–4.42) for highest compared with lowest tertile. Lack of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, but not walking, was associated with diabetes with an OR of 1.29 (1.17–1.41). The association of moderate-to-vigorous activity with fasting glucose varied with WHR tertiles (P = 0.01 for interaction). Within the high WHR tertile, participants who had a lack of moderate-to-vigorous activity had an OR of 3.87 (3.22–4.65) for diabetes, whereas those who were active had an OR of 2.94 (2.41–3.59).
In this population, WHR was a better measure of adiposity-related diabetes risk than BMI or waist circumference. Higher moderate-to-vigorous activity was associated with lower diabetes risk, especially in abdominally obese individuals.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the apolipoprotein A5 (APOA5) gene have been associated with hypertriglyceridaemia. We investigated which SNPs in the APOA5 gene were associated with triglyceride levels in two independent Chinese populations. In all, 1375 subjects in the Hong Kong Cardiovascular Risk Factor Prevalence Study were genotyped for five tagging SNPs chosen from HapMap. Replication was sought in 1996 subjects from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study. Among the five SNPs, rs662799 (-1131T>C) was strongly related to log-transformed triglyceride levels among Hong Kong subjects (β=0.192, P=2.6 × 10−13). Plasma triglyceride level was 36.1% higher in CC compared to TT genotype. This association was confirmed in Guangzhou subjects (β=0.159, P=1.3 × 10−12), and was significantly irrespective of sex, age group, obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and alcohol drinking. The odds ratios and 95% confidence interval for plasma triglycerides ≥1.7 mmol/l associated with TC and CC genotypes were, respectively, 1.81 (1.37–2.39) and 2.22 (1.44–3.43) in Hong Kong and 1.27 (1.05–1.54) and 1.97 (1.42–2.73) in Guangzhou. Haplotype analysis suggested the association was due to rs662799 only. The corroborative findings in two independent populations indicate that the APOA5-1131T>C polymorphism is an important and clinically relevant determinant of plasma triglyceride levels in the Chinese population.
apolipoproteins; triglycerides; hypertriglyceridaemia; single nucleotide polymorphisms
Body shape dissatisfaction has been thought to have an indispensable impact on weight control behaviors. We investigated the prevalence of body shape dissatisfaction (BSD) and explored its association with weight status, education level and other determinants among young adults in Hong Kong.
Information on anthropometry, BSD, and socio-demographics was collected from a random sample of 1205 young adults (611 men and 594 women) aged 18-27 in a community-based household survey. BSD was defined as a discrepancy between current and ideal body shape based on a figure rating scale. Cross-tabulations, homogeneity tests and logistic regression models were applied.
The percentages of underweight men and women were 16.5% and 34.9% respectively, and the corresponding percentages of being overweight or obese were 26.7% and 13.2% for men and women respectively. Three-quarters of young adults had BSD. Among women, 30.9% of those underweight and 75.5% of those with normal weight desired a slimmer body shape. Overweight men and underweight women with lower education level were more likely to have a mismatch between weight status and BSD than those with higher education level. After controlling for other determinants, underweight women were found to have a higher likelihood to maintain their current body shapes than other women. Men were found to be less likely to have a mismatch between weight status and BSD than women.
Overweight and obesity in men and underweight in women were prevalent among Hong Kong young adults. Inappropriate body shape desire might predispose individuals to unhealthy weight loss or gain behaviors. Careful consideration of actual weight status in body shape desire is needed in health promotion and education, especially for underweight and normal weight women and those with a low education level.
In observational studies from western countries childhood emotional adversity is usually associated with adult cardiovascular disease. These findings are open to contextual biases making evidence from other settings valuable. We examined the association of a potential marker of childhood emotional adversity with cardiovascular disease risk factors in a developing country.
We used multivariable regression in cross-sectional analysis of older (≥50 years) men (n = 7,885) and women (n = 20,886) from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study (2003–8) to examine the adjusted association of early life (<18 years) parental death (none, one or two deaths) with blood pressure, fasting glucose, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, body mass index (BMI), waist-hip ratio (WHR) and white blood cell count (WBC). We used seated height and delayed 10-word recall to assess content validity of parental death as a measure of childhood emotional adversity. We also examined whether associations varied by sex.
Early life parental death was associated with shorter age- and sex-adjusted seated height. It was also associated with lower 10-word recall score adjusted for age, sex, socio-economic position, leg length and lifestyle. Similarly, adjusted early life parental death was not associated with blood pressure, fasting glucose, LDL-cholesterol or HDL-cholesterol but was associated with lower BMI (−0.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.62 to −0.19 for 2 compared with no early life parental deaths) and triglycerides. Associations varied by sex for WHR and WBC. Among men only, early life parental death was associated with lower WHR (−0.008, 95% CI −0.015 to −0.001) and WBC (−0.35 109/L, 95% CI −0.56 to −0.13).
In a non-western population from a developing country, childhood emotional adversity was negatively associated with some cardiovascular risk factors, particularly among men. Our study suggests that some of the observed associations in western populations may be socially rather than biologically based or may be population specific.
To examine dose–response associations between depressive symptoms and suicide and modification effects of sex, age and health status in older Chinese.
We used the Chinese version of the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) to measure depressive symptoms (GDS score ≥ 8) and Cox regression to examine association with suicide mortality in a population-based cohort of 55,946 individuals, aged 65 years or above, enrolled from July 1998 to December 2000 at one of 18 Elderly Health Centres of Hong Kong Department of Health. The cohort was followed up for suicide mortality till 31 March 2009 (mean follow-up 8.7 years).
Depressive symptoms were associated with suicide in men [hazard ratio (HR) 2.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.96–4.29] and women (HR = 2.36, 95% CI 1.31–4.24) after adjusting for age, education, monthly expenditure, smoking, alcohol drinking, physical activity, body mass index, health status, and self-rated health. There was no threshold for GDS score and suicide in either sex. Age, sex and health status did not modify the association.
Depressive symptoms predict higher suicide risk in older Chinese in a dose–response pattern. These associations were not attenuated by adjustment for health status, suggesting that depressive symptoms in older people are likely to be an independent causal factor for suicide. The GDS score showed no threshold in predicting suicide risk, suggesting that older people with low GDS scores deserve further attention and those with very high scores need urgent intervention.
Depressive symptoms; Geriatric Depression Scale; Suicide