Hong Kong Med J. 1998 Dec; 4(4): 383-388.
Nutrition and health issues in the general Hong Kong population.
Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, the chronic diseases that lead to mortality and morbidity, and contribute to disability include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, hypertension, osteoporosis, and diabetes mellitus. The role of nutrition as a risk factor for the development of these diseases has been described elsewhere. For the older population, adequate nutrition is important to maintain health, particularly with regard to the effect of nutrition on immunocompetence. Nutritional surveys of the general adult population show that although the intake pattern for cardiovascular health is good, follow-up surveys to monitor the pattern are needed. In the context of chronic disease prevention, decreasing salt consumption, increasing calcium intake, and increasing the awareness of the health value of fibre may all be beneficial actions. Educational efforts should be directed particularly at those with lower levels of education, since the poorly educated have been shown to have a less healthy diet and a greater prevalence of overweight individuals. Among the elderly, evidence of undernutrition has been documented in institutional settings and is associated with increased mortality. The diet of those residing in vegetarian homes has been shown to be deficient in many B vitamins, which results in a high frequency of nutritional anaemias. To help achieve an optimal nutritional status, nutrition screening programmes should become an integral part of the development of quality care programmes for institutions responsible for care of the elderly.