International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 561–570 | Cite as

Lifestyle and Addictive Behaviors Among Chinese Adolescents in Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Wuhan, and Zhuhai—a First Cross-subculture Assessment

  • Xinguang Chen
  • Maggie Lau
  • Ming Yue KanEmail author
  • I-Chyun Chiang
  • Yih-Jin Hu
  • Jie Gong
  • Lue Li
  • King-Lun Ngok



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.


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.


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.


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.


Adolescence Chinese culture Lifestyle behavior Addictive behavior Cross-subcultural research Multilevel modeling 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinguang Chen
    • 1
  • Maggie Lau
    • 2
  • Ming Yue Kan
    • 3
    Email author
  • I-Chyun Chiang
    • 4
  • Yih-Jin Hu
    • 5
  • Jie Gong
    • 6
  • Lue Li
    • 7
  • King-Lun Ngok
    • 8
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.City University of Hong KongKowloon TongHong Kong
  3. 3.Hong Kong Institute of EducationTai PoHong Kong
  4. 4.Yuanpei UniversityHsinchuTaiwan
  5. 5.National Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan
  6. 6.Wuhan Center for Disease Prevention and ControlWuhanChina
  7. 7.Macao Polytechnic InstituteMacauChina
  8. 8.Sun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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