Contextual barriers to lifestyle physical activity interventions in Hong Kong

Francis Eves, Richard Masters, A McManus, M Leung, P Wong, Michael White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Increased lifestyle physical activity, for instance, use of active transport, is a current public health target. Active transport interventions that target stair climbing are consistently successful in English-speaking populations yet unsuccessful in Hong Kong. We report two further studies on active transport in the Hong Kong Chinese. Methods: Pedestrians on a mass transit escalator system (study 1) and in an air-conditioned shopping mall (study 2) were encouraged to take the stairs for their cardiovascular health by point-of-choice prompts. Observers coded sex, age, and walking on the mass transit system, with the additional variables of presence of children and bags coded in the shopping mall. In the first study, a 1-wk baseline was followed by 4 wk of intervention (N=76,710) whereas in the second study (shopping mall) a 2-wk baseline was followed by a 2-wk intervention period (N = 18,257). Results: A small but significant increase in stair climbing (+0.29%) on the mass transit system contrasted with no significant changes in the shopping mail (+0.09%). The active transport of walking on the mass transit system was reduced at higher rates of humidity and temperature, with steeper slopes for the effects of climate variables in men than in women. Conclusions: These studies confirm that lifestyle physical activity interventions do not have universal application. The context in which the behavior occurs (e.g., climate) may act as a barrier to active transport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-971
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • walking
  • humidity
  • stair climbing
  • active transport
  • temperature


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