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Association between sleeping hours, working hours and obesity in Hong Kong Chinese: the ‘better health for better Hong Kong’ health promotion campaign



To study the inter-relationships between sleeping hours, working hours and obesity in subjects from a working population.

Research design:

A cross-sectional observation study under the ‘Better Health for Better Hong Kong’ Campaign, which is a territory-wide health awareness and promotion program.


4793 subjects (2353 (49.1%) men and 2440 (50.9%) women). Their mean age (±s.d.) was 42.4±8.9 years (range 17–83 years, median 43.0 years). Subjects were randomly selected using computer-generated codes in accordance to the distribution of occupational groups in Hong Kong.


The mean daily sleeping time was 7.06±1.03 h (women vs men: 7.14±1.08 h vs 6.98±0.96 h, P<0.001). Increasing body mass index (BMI) was associated with reducing number of sleeping hours and increasing number of working hours reaching significance in the whole group as well as among male subjects. Those with short sleeping hour (6 h or less) and long working hours (>9 h) had the highest BMI and waist in both men and women. Based on multiple regression analysis with age, smoking, alcohol drinking, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean daily sleeping hours and working hours as independent variables, BMI was independently associated with age, systolic and diastolic blood pressure in women, whereas waist was associated with age, smoking and blood pressure. In men, blood pressure, sleeping hours and working hours were independently associated with BMI, whereas waist was independently associated with age, smoking, blood pressure, sleeping hours and working hours in men.


Obesity is associated with reduced sleeping hours and long working hours in men among Hong Kong Chinese working population. Further studies are needed to investigate the underlying mechanisms of this relationship and its potential implication on prevention and management of obesity.

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We thank all participating labor unions and their members as well as all advisors and members of the project team in making this study possible. We are particularly grateful to the Li Ka Shing Foundation for providing partial funding to the project (all other financial support comes from Hospital Authority, HA). The HA Health InfoWorld is supported by the HA which is the governing body of all public hospitals in Hong Kong with a mission to promote public awareness of importance of healthy lifestyle and disease prevention. Members of the Research Committee of the BHBHK Campaign include Professor Cecilia LW Chan, Professor Juliana CN Chan, Dr Gary TC Ko, Professor Stanley SC Hui, Professor CY Chiu, Mrs Rosalie SY Kwong, Ms Selina Khor, Ms CY Wong, Mr Spencer DY Tong, Mrs Amy WY Chan, Ms. Ruby LP Kwok and Mr Patrick TS Wong.

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Correspondence to G T C Ko.

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Ko, G., Chan, J., Chan, A. et al. Association between sleeping hours, working hours and obesity in Hong Kong Chinese: the ‘better health for better Hong Kong’ health promotion campaign. Int J Obes 31, 254–260 (2007).

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  • sleeping hours
  • working hours
  • Hong Kong Chinese
  • health promotion

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