Students dive into unhealthy habits to relieve stress

Students dive into unhealthy habits to relieve stress

Students feeling stressed out by school pressures is one thing, but a recent survey found that Hong Kong pupils from low-income families are turning to unhealthy habits to find relief.

Almost half of primary students choose to get lost in video games, while one in three looked for comfort in their favourite snacks. Only about 22% chose to exercise away the stress.

Half of the students surveyed did not meet the 30 minutes-minimum daily exercise requirement to keep healthy, found the study by social welfare organisation St James’ Settlement and AXA.

“This shows children don’t really know what the most appropriate ways are to alleviate stress,” said Connie Ng Man-yin, senior manager of charity services at St James.

The study found that about one in seven students (14%) rated their stress level at the maximum on a scale of 1 to 10.

Another 19% put their stress level between 7 and 9, while 32% put it somewhere from 4 to 6. The remaining 32% said they experience low levels of stress.

The study did not determine the exact reasons for their stress but Ng added that the top three factors were usually concerns over academics, interpersonal relationships and family finances.

In addition, the study found that about 78% of parents believed their children would open up to them about stress. In reality, only 25% of the students polled said they had.

“Usually, children from low-income families are more independent and try to handle it themselves if they feel they are capable,” Ng said.