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Lifestyle and addictive behaviors among Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Wuhan, and Zhuhai : a first cross-subculture assessment
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
  • Xinguang CHEN, University of Florida
  • Ka Wai, Maggie LAU, City University of Hong Kong
  • Ming Yue KAN, Hong Kong Institute of Education
  • I Chyun CHIANG, Yuanpei University
  • Yih-Jin HU, National Taiwan Normal University
  • Jie GONG, Wuhan Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Wuhan, China
  • Lue LI, Macao Polytechnic Institute
  • King Lun NGOK, Sun Yat-sen University
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
Springer New York LLC
  • Adolescence,
  • Chinese culture,
  • Lifestyle behavior,
  • Addictive behavior,
  • Cross-subcultural research,
  • Multilevel modeling


This study aimed at assessing the differences in prevalence rates of common health behavior among adolescents in the five Chinese cities and the influential factors at the contextual and individual levels. Method

We compared the standardized rates of three lifestyle behaviors (sedentary, dietary, and physical activity) and three addictive behaviors (cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and participation in gambling) among a sample of 13,950 adolescents. The sample was randomly selected from five cities, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Zhuhai, and Wuhan. Population size, GDP per capita, and literacy at the city level as well as parental monitoring and school performance at the student’s level were assessed. Multi-level mixed effect models were used to examine the interaction of individual level factors with study sites. Results

The six health behaviors differed significantly across sites with the highest rates of alcohol consumption in Hong Kong (39.5 %), of cigarette smoking in Macau (9.8 %), and of gambling in Taipei (37.1 %) and Hong Kong (35.9 %). The city-level measures were associated with only a few behavioral measures. Relative to Hong Kong, parental monitoring had stronger association with the three addictive behaviors in the other sites. Conclusion

Findings suggest that although the study sites share similar Chinese culture, students in the five cities differed from each other with regard to levels of health behaviors. Relative to the broad socioeconomic development, differences in parental monitoring played a significant role in explaining the observed difference.

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Citation Information
Chen, X., Lau, M., Kan, M. Y., Chiang, I-C., Hu, Y.-J., Gong, J, ... Ngok, K.-L. (2016). Lifestyle and addictive behaviors among Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Wuhan, and Zhuhai: A first cross-subculture assessment. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 23(5), 561–570. doi: 10.1007/s12529-016-9548-9