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19 MAY 2023 (FRI) 10:35 - 10:55

How to promote physical activities among primary-school students in Hong Kong?A 3D spatial agent-based simulation on various interventions

Mr NG Ka Yiu, Benjamin

Abstract:

Obesity has become a global pandemic, substantially burdening the healthcare system worldwide. Such a situation has worsened after the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hong Kong is no exception. Early intervention targeting children is cost-effective and critical as lifestyle and obesity can persist to adulthood. Active living, advocating for integrating physical activities into daily routine, has been promoted to combat the obesity pandemic. Population health results from an interdependent and interrelated multilevel system in which the parts interact and shape our health behavior and health. However, the traditional reductionism approach tends to simplify such a complex system and only considers the relationship between the health outcome/behavior and selected parts of the system and cannot fully account for the dynamic interaction, chaos, and randomness that fuel our everyday life. Agent-based modeling (ABM), like Simcity, a city management simulating game, adopts the system thinking concept and bottom-up approach to mimic the complicated human system in which many factors interact together and shape an individual’s health outcome/behavior, eventually shaping the emergent population health/behavior at the community level. In this regard, this thesis aims to build a realistic 3D ABM to test the effectiveness of interventions, respectively, and collectively, to promote physical activity among primary-school students in Hong Kong. The significance of this thesis is threefold. First, It is the first city-scale 3D ABM in which pedestrian movement and living space are all constructed in 3D space. Second, the ABM can realistically represent the everyday life of children's mobility as the transportation system is built based on public transport schedules and routes. Third, it is the first study in Hong Kong to provide a simulation-based "what-if" scenario to facilitate decision-making on identifying effective interventions on children’s PA.

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