Student health assessment unveiled

The Department of Health today announced the key findings of its Student Health Service's annual health assessment in the 2022-23 school year.

The department provides a free annual health assessment service for primary and secondary school students which includes physical examinations; screenings for health problems related to growth, nutrition, vision, hearing, scoliosis, psychosocial health and behaviour; individual counselling as well as health education and vaccination.


Students found to have health problems will be referred to Special Assessment Centre (SAC) under the Student Health Service, specialist clinics of the Hospital Authority or other appropriate organisations for further assessment or management.


A total of 233,000 primary students and 97,000 secondary students attended the Student Health Service Centres (SHSCs) for annual health assessment services in the 2022-23 school year.


The annual health assessment revealed a deterioration of students' vision in recent years, especially among lower grade primary students.


The percentage of Primary One students who wore corrective lenses remained stable at 11% from the 2015-16 school year to 2019-20, but increased to 15% in 2020-21 and remained level till 2022-23. The overall percentage of primary and secondary school students who required a referral to the optometry service for further visual assessment slightly dropped to 13% in 2022-23.


The data also revealed that the detection rates of being overweight, including obesity, among primary and secondary school students remained elevated in 2022-23.


Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, the rates among the two groups of students were about 17.4% and 19.9% for the 2018-19 school year. The detection rates increased to 20.6% and 22.1% in 2021-22 and slightly dropped to 19.5% and 20.5% in 2022-23.


The department noted that during the COVID-19 epidemic, class suspension, online classes, decreased outdoor physical activity, together with increased screen time, all imposed higher risks of overweight/obesity and deteriorated vision.


The health assessment also revealed that the percentage of students requiring a referral to the SAC, specialist clinics or other organisations for psychosocial and behavioural problems had increased from 1.1% in the 2018-19 school year to 1.8% in 2022-23.


The self-administered questionnaire collected from students attending the SHSCs in the 2022-23 school year found that 2.8% and 1.3% of all students had planned to commit suicide or attempted suicide in the past 12 months, with a higher percentage of 3.7% and 1.6% among secondary students.


Healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses and clinical psychologists in the SHSCs and SACs have paid additional attention to students' emotions and mental health needs, and provided individual health counselling and advice to them.


The department noted that while some student annual health assessment services were earlier suspended due to the COVID-19 epidemic, 12 SHSCs have resumed the services for all grades of primary and secondary students during the 2023-24 school year. Students are urged to enrol in the annual health assessment.


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