The FAMILY Project Cohort Study has recently found that among those on treatment of high blood pressure, happier individuals and those who lived in more cohesive neighbourhoods were more likely to achieve good blood pressure control. On 13 December 2012, a press conference was arranged to disseminate the result findings and has received substantial media and public attention.
A major territory-wide study on health, happiness and harmony in Hong Kong families – FAMILY Project Cohort Study has found that 32% of respondents suffered from high blood pressure but only 46% of them were ever diagnosed as hypertensive by a doctor. 70% of those ever diagnosed were prescribed blood pressure lowering medication, while 42% of this treated group attained good control of blood pressure. Among those on treatment, happier individuals and those who lived in more cohesive neighbourhoods were more likely to achieve good blood pressure control.
These findings come from the FAMILY Project, funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and initiated in collaboration with the School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong (HKU). Researchers interviewed 16,039 adults at home between March 2009 and March 2011 with a view to understanding the “3Hs”: health, happiness and harmony in the family setting. Participants’ blood pressure levels were measured by researchers according to a standardized protocol on site.
Persistent, uncontrolled hypertension may lead to potentially fatal conditions such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and dementia. According to 2011 statistics provided by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, up to 26% of deaths in Hong Kong could be related to hypertension.
Prof Gabriel Leung, Head of HKU’s Department of Community Medicine, said: “Our findings confirm the ‘rule of halves’ where roughly only half of all hypertensive cases are diagnosed, half of those diagnosed are treated, and half of those treated are well-controlled. Up to one-quarter of all deaths may be directly or indirectly caused by hypertension, making it the number one modifiable health risk. This status quo deserves our immediate attention given that we have the opportunity to save thousands of lives every year.” He also called on the public to be more aware of hypertension and to undergo regular blood pressure checks. Those found to be hypertensive should ensure optimal control, through appropriate management by family doctors including taking medication. Maintaining a state of happiness and living in a cohesive neighbourhood could help patients control their blood pressure, according to Prof Leung.
Mr. Douglas So, Executive Director of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, said the FAMILY Project is the first ever tracking survey of families in Hong Kong, with the emphasis on the importance of family relationships to the well-being of individual members of the family. Close collaborations have been forged with many social service groups in organizing a serious of support programmes, including “Happy Family Kitchen” and “Learning Family”, with the aims of strengthening intergenerational relationships and contributing to the “health, happiness and harmony” of family life.